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Demons cleared, guilty, fined

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'It's not tanking': Demetriou

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou denies that the $500,000 fine imposed on the Demons is for tanking.

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In the end it all came down to one meeting in July 2009 in an old tin shed at the Junction Oval known as ''the vault''.

It was there that Melbourne's then football boss, Chris Connolly, is alleged to have warned an estimated 15 officials against the perils of winning more than four games that year.


It was there that jobs were allegedly threatened and that two teenagers by the names of Tom Scully and Jack Trengove were mentioned. The Demons had just emerged from back-to-back victories and were perilously poised with three wins for the season.

It was that meeting which appears to have provided the best and most damaging evidence of what former Demon Brock McLean declared last year ''Blind Freddie'' could see. That Melbourne had deliberately lost games of football.

Not that the AFL announced as much when it revealed on Tuesday what it had told Melbourne four days earlier. The club was found guilty of little it seemed except that it was forced to take responsibility for the behaviour of Connolly and the club's former coach, Dean Bailey.

The AFL has achieved some expedient backroom deals in its time but this one will compete for the most pragmatic, political decisions in the game's history. To his credit Andrew Demetriou's most likely successor, Gillon McLachlan, made a good fist of justifying the inexplicable.

Both Connolly and Bailey are the scapegoats of something the AFL privately believes was sanctioned by others. According to McLachlan, Connolly ''made a terrible and stupid decision in the context of an AFL rule which has since changed. I know he now regrets that comment''.

They were found guilty of breaching AFL rule 1.6: That they had acted in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the competition.

If the Demons' board knew nothing then it is paying a heavy fine for what Connolly and Bailey did. The club has been fined $500,000 - almost double Adelaide's fine for draft and salary cap tampering. Only Carlton and the Demons themselves have ever been fined more in the past and both those were for salary cap cheating.

Intriguingly the club did not lose draft picks and McLachlan himself admitted the punishment was made in the context of a priority pick rule that had put clubs under pressure and has now been removed.

Melbourne reluctantly accepted the deal McLachlan crunched on the basis it did not lose draft picks. And on the basis that the investigation concluded that the club, coach and team had not set out to lose matches. It fought to have the $500,000 fine cut in half to the end but failed.

The AFL Commission talks on Monday were robust to say the least and there was a view that the club had escaped lightly. Again this was a messy, confusing political decision but at least there was a decision.

The board and Connolly's legal team fought not to have him carry the can for the entire affair but there had to be a scapegoat. Connolly himself denied for six months at least that he had been serious in his address to his staff in ''the vault'' that fateful winter's day back in 2009 but in the end he could not fight against the weight of evidence.

Or the political context in which this whole saga has been played out. The Demons also fought for Cameron Schwab not to be charged and in the end McLachlan admitted there was not sufficient evidence to do so despite some strong opinion to the contrary.

Significantly had the club, its board or chief executive had its integrity put in question then its Bentleigh Club pokies' licence could have been threatened.

Melbourne claims its integrity is intact and Jim Stynes' legacy has been preserved. Don McLardy, who was the ailing Stynes' deputy that year but pretty much in charge, slammed the media dialogue that has surrounded this whole unhappy episode.

He said he was entirely comfortable with the manner in which both he and his board conducted themselves in 2009.

McLardy said he was happy in terms of integrity that the club's name had been cleared but accepted that in the current sporting climate of match-fixing and drug allegations the AFL had to take a stand.

Demetriou will not be forced to explain his promise that any coach found guilty of deliberately losing games would never work again in football. That's because Bailey was found guilty of acting in a manner prejudicial to the AFL, but not trying to lose. Interestingly he was the only coach at Melbourne that year to have done so.

Demetriou defended his late withdrawal from Tuesday's public announcement saying it had been McLachlan's investigation, not his.

He said the evidence and findings had been put before an independent Queen's Counsel who had agreed the investigation had no sufficient evidence against any other officials or board members.

So the Demons won the legal argument that they did not tank. McLachlan admitted he wasn't even sure what tanking meant. Nor could the AFL prove, despite significant evidence played out before its very eyes in games such as rounds 17 and 18 against Sydney and Richmond respectively, that any on-field moves made in 2009 constituted deliberate attempts to lose. And yet the club, which scraped together a $19,000 profit last season, has been slapped with the third-largest fine in AFL history.

A club official, Chris Connolly, boasting a 40-year history with the sport has been banned from all football clubs and arenas for a year and yet Melbourne will still somehow manage to unofficially pay him.

A coach, Dean Bailey, who - under pressure from that official - acted before games in a manner prejudicial to victory but not during games, cannot coach for 16 weeks but can remain at his club and still get paid.

That's it in a nutshell. Messy? No messier than Melbourne's football operations in 2009. Confusing? No more confused than the Melbourne players were when they were victim to some very strange team selections and on-field moves that season.


  • I know you wanted more blood Caroline, but if a independent Queen's Counsel found that there was no sufficient evidence, they're wasn't. Playing players out of position is not uncommon Caroline. If you watched footy, you would realise that. In the end it was a rubbish result for a rubbish charge

    Date and time
    February 20, 2013, 7:16AM
    • Micko, that's what pre-seasons are for - playing players out of position to see if they adapt. NOT during the home and away season. Would you see it happen in a final where players are played "out of position"? I think not.

      As for Melbourne - well they're irrelevant now. The ONLY time in history its own members voted to merge with another Club. All those years of mediocrity - gleefully accepted by the Board, coaching staff, players and idiot supporters.

      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:00AM
    • Micko, Trying players out of regular position is normal. Playing an average ruckman on a quality small forward is trying to lose. No one who saw the Richmond game can say it was experimentation. It was obvious and comical the lengths the coaches were going to in order to lose. It almost didn't work given the pitiful quality of the opposition

      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:14AM
    • Playing players out of position is for the pre season, really?
      Alastair Lynch was a full back at Fitzroy but they once put him forward and kicked 7 against North, he then went on to play in flags with Brisbane as a full forward. WOuld never have happened using your logic.
      Swan starting in the forward line not centre (out of position).

      Clubs trying new things like giving young players a chance when not going to make the finals, sending players off for surgery so they are right for next year etc are all part of good list management unless it is Melbourne then it is tanking

      Think about it
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:15AM
    • @BoDiddley

      Check out the 1984 grand final. I know it was some time ago but Sheedy essentially moved his best backmen into the forward line and vice versa. Was he tanking?

      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:20AM
    • @BoDiddley In pre-season you have a fixed squad of players getting ready for the year ahead. If that year has been a disaster and you are no chance of making finals, you look ahead and manage your list to see who stays, who goes and who you can get, which includes playing players out of position and dropping the tired/injured. Happens in every sport at every level. This wouldn't be as much of a Caro beat up if the suggestion was a team playing a final did this, but that probably wouldn't happen unless the AFL provided an extra incentive as they did with the bottom teams.

      F. Poss
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:26AM
    • @BoDiddley, you're another ill-informed spud that believes the urban myth that Melbourne supporters voted to merge - the facts are that nearly 1000 people couldn't get into the Dallas Brooks Hall that night meaning that they weren't able to vote. The overall counted vote was 51%-49%; if you attended the DBH that night as I did, you were almost certainly attending to save the club and vote "no merger". The supporters who missed out on voting didn't bother with another vote because Hawthorn had voted against it already meaning that it the merger couldn't go ahead anyway.
      And frankly, anyone who thinks that the Demons were the only club to "play players out of position" for draft picks have got their head in their sand - there are countless clubs who've done the same thing but for whatever reason were never investigated.

      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:59AM
    • @Micko are you serious? Do you think your club is vindicated? They were fined $500k and 2 officials are now suspended for actions contrary to the spirit of AFL. But you think this is all ok because a QC refused to use the term “tanking” in his verdict?? Carro was spot on and has been proven right – you need to suck it up and stop hiding behind a dictionary.

      Too Funny
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 9:59AM
    • Oh please, another AFL whitewash designed to protect the AFL image.

      The Dee's are not the only team to take a dive to the bottom for draft picks. And to suggest that Jim and the board never knew is just plain insulting to Aussie rules fans as everyone else could see what was happening.
      In fact to suggest otherwise is so naive that I would like to meet them as I have a bridge for sale, it looks like a coat hanger and it is in sydney.

      Classic Boy
      Life boat earth
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 10:02AM
    • You're wrong Micko.

      Caro is correct on this one.

      The AFL says there isn't enough evidence, yet their own statements provide ample evidence that Melbourne planned to lose games to gain draft picks. The AFL said too much, which is unusual for them. Normally they just shut up shop.

      Again the crappy argument that 'the players were trying'. This is probably true, but totally irrelevant. The puppet is only as good as the puppeteer. And the puppeteer wanted to lose.

      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 11:05AM

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
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