Rendell's second chance
Matt Rendell (left) appears on Channel Nine's Footy Classified last month. Photo: Channel Nine
MATT Rendell, the Adelaide Crows recruiter removed from his job after he made offensive comments about indigenous footballers, looks headed for a position within the AFL.
The Age understands talks have been conducted at the game's highest level with a view to resurrecting Rendell's career via a portfolio in the league's game development department.
The discussions began after Rendell's lengthy counselling session with the AFL's vilification consultant Frank Bassini and unofficial talks are understood to have involved league chief executive Andrew Demetriou, his senior lieutenant Gillon McLachlan and, potentially, game development boss Andrew Dillon and football boss Adrian Anderson.
A cagey Demetriou said yesterday: ''I will say we've got a proud record of giving people second chances. Matt Rendell has had a career in the game over a 35-year period and that sort of experience is not something you necessarily want lost to the game.
''Our view is that he's more than welcome back into the fold and if there's a role for him here, we would certainly look at that.''
Rendell had recommitted to the Crows for three years at the end of last season and remains highly valued as a recruiter, albeit one who occasionally allows his passionate and occasionally inappropriate views to affect his performance.
He was forced to resign after it was revealed that he had made a series of comments that proved offensive to the AFL's community engagement manager, Jason Mifsud, and his assistant Ali Fahour. The storm that followed saw Rendell defend his position with an emotional performance on Channel Nine - an interview that was followed by a counselling session provided by the AFL.
Demetriou said he had received a report from Bassini, a long-time expert in the areas of racial, religious and sexual vilification who works across several sports and makes presentations to all AFL clubs, as well as handling sensitive vilification issues within the game.
Demetriou said he believed Mifsud and Rendell remained on good terms despite Rendell's offensive comments and Mifsud's role in Rendell's departure. The AFL boss told The Age on the day after the Rendell interview on Footy Classified that he had felt for Rendell, but that he had not pushed for his removal. He also said he felt for those in the indigenous community who had been hurt by Rendell's comments.
''I still think they (Rendell and Mifsud) are friends from what I understand and I believe Matt really benefited from the Frank Bassini sessions. He now understands that what he said was offensive and, as I've said before, I don't believe Matt Rendell is a racist. I believe he made some ignorant comments and I have a report on my desk that indicates how beneficial the meeting was.''