AFL to probe McLean's tanking claims
The AFL will address Brock McLean’s tanking allegations by formally interviewing the former Melbourne midfielder after his explosive claims about the events of 2009.
Carlton’s McLean says he had left the Demons because circumstances at the club in the second half of the 2009 season didn’t sit well with him.
‘‘They don’t call it tanking; we would call it ‘experimenting’ or whatever it was,’’ McLean told FoxFooty’s On The Couch program on Monday. ‘‘It just went against everything I was taught as a kid, taught as a footballer and as a person.’’
McLean said even ‘‘Blind Freddy’’ would have been able to see that Melbourne wasn’t doing everything it possibly could to win games late in the 2009 season, a year in which it finished last with four wins.
Acting AFL chief Gill McLachlan said yesterday the league had reviewed McLean’s comments. ‘‘The AFL has resolved that this matter will be addressed by the general manager of football operations, Adrian Anderson,’’ McLachlan said.
Dean Bailey coached the Demons to the wooden spoon in 2008 and 2009, securing the first draft picks in both seasons as well as the second pick in 2009. The Demons used those picks to draft Jack Watts, Tom Scully and Jack Trengove. Scully joined Greater Western Sydney on a multi-million dollar deal in late 2011.
Bailey said last year at his farewell press conference: ‘‘I had no hesitation at all in the first two years [2008-09] in ensuring the club was well-placed for draft picks.
‘‘I was asked to do the best thing by the Melbourne Football Club and I did it. I put players in different positions,’’ Bailey said.
An investigation which followed found the Demons had no case to answer over tanking allegations.
The AFL changed its rules in February 2012 so that winning four games or less no longer allowed a club to claim a priority pick.
Anderson denied the changes were introduced to combat tanking.
Priority picks will be awarded by the commission on the recommendation of the AFL’s football department. The formula for priority picks is not made known to clubs.
Asked if he felt Bailey had been under pressure to make sure the Demons won no more than four games, McLean said: ‘‘I would have thought so, yeah. You can’t create a good culture by going out and experimenting [by moving players away from their usual positions] and trying to get draft picks and losing games of football.’’
McLean said he’d had time to reflect upon why he didn’t take a stand. ‘‘I didn’t want to be seen to be going against what the club were trying to do, even though I felt very strongly against it,’’ he said.
'‘I really felt for ‘Bails’ because he was put in a difficult position. I was part of the leadership group that year.’’
Three-time premiership coach Mick Malthouse said if the AFL felt this was an isolated incident at one club, they had their heads in the sand.
‘‘They can’t possibly think that this is a one-off,’’ he said. ‘‘And the other thing is that it has taken them so long to think that it did actually happen. When you’re down the bottom and you’ve such juicy things in front of you like first picks and priority picks, what do you reckon the temptation is going to be?’’ he said.
"We spoke among ourselves, and said ‘we just have to continue to toe the line, reinforce what the coaches are saying, not let Chinese whispers get into something bigger’.’’
Adelaide assistant coach Bailey said yesterday: ‘‘I am no longer working for the Melbourne Football Club and therefore will not make any public comments about my time at that club.’’
Melbourne boss Don McLardy says the Demons support the decision to interview McLean.