JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Senior Demons drove tanking

Key members of Melbourne's football department meet in 2009.

Key members of Melbourne's football department meet in 2009. Photo: Ken Irwin

THE AFL has uncovered a secret meeting involving at least 15 members of the Melbourne football department in which coaches were reminded of the importance of forfeiting matches in order to gain early draft picks.

Former Melbourne football boss Chris Connolly addressed the 2009 meeting, which it is believed was code-named ''the vault''.

The term vault relates to where the meeting took place - in the tin shed that runs between the two stands at Melbourne's old training ground at the Junction Oval. It is understood 15 people attended what began as a match committee meeting after the club's round 15 win over Port Adelaide, which was its second win in succession and lifted its tally for the year perilously close to its planned limit of four wins.

Connolly is understood to have urged those at the meeting to ''stay the course'', warning that Melbourne supporters and other stakeholders would come down on it should it fail to secure a prized priority pick, which the club would receive if it won just four games.

The club is now receiving legal advice after at least four witnesses were recalled by the AFL and admitted the club planned to deliberately lose games of football. Among those to have confessed the meeting took place upon being re-interviewed are former coach Dean Bailey and his then assistant Josh Mahoney. The AFL investigation continued today with those witnesses recalled, including Demons' former recruiting manager Barry Prendergast, now at Carlton.

It is not known whether the meeting referred to a specific game or cluster of matches. Melbourne had several suspicious losses in 2009 including successive defeats over rounds 17 and 18 respectively to Sydney (18 points) and Richmond (four points). The Demons won just four games in 2009, and were

rewarded with the first two picks in the national draft, collecting Tom Scully (a priority choice) and Jack Trengove.

It is understood Melbourne remains determined to fight any sanction and is looking at the legal definition of ''tanking'' in a bid to redefine their actions and those of other clubs over the past decade. The club is expected to come before the AFL Commission as early as next month.

As many as 10 witnesses are understood to have rolled over under pressure from AFL investigators Brett Clothier and Abraham Haddad, the league's intelligence co-ordinator.

Mahoney, who is now in charge of the Melbourne football department, did not attend Monday's first official pre-season training session. Bailey, who has not returned calls from Fairfax, fears he could be suspended by the AFL for his role in the affair.

Now a senior assistant with the Adelaide Crows, Bailey came close to blowing the whistle on Melbourne last year at his final press conference, after he was sacked, but failed to reveal the meeting in a subsequent AFL investigation. Bailey has told colleagues he regrets following the club line, which the AFL could establish was driven from the top.

It is not clear whether Jim Stynes' legacy will be tarnished by the investigation. Stynes, who was club chairman from 2008 to 2012, only partially addressed the tanking issue in his 2012 book before he died. The AFL recently named a community scholarship in his honour.

Chief executive Cameron Schwab, who was not present at the Connolly meeting in question, is also being investigated for alleged incriminating conversations with coaches. Schwab, who almost lost his job last year before Bailey was sacked, recently signed a new three-year agreement with the club. Connolly was removed from the football department at the end of 2011 but still works at the club.

The AFL has also interviewed former Demon assistants Mark Williams, Scott West, Kelly O'Donnell and Sean Wellman. Club president Don McLardy said he would make no comment until the investigation was completed.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou, who constantly defended the club, counselled Schwab at the time and repeatedly denied tanking was taking place, said he was remaining at arm's length from the inquiry given his role as an AFL commissioner.

In August this year Demetriou again said he did not believe tanking existed in football but described it as one of the game's worst crimes.

The investigation was sparked by former Demon Brock McLean after he spoke of his misgivings about the club's manipulation of games on Fox Footy in July.

At least one other former player, Melbourne's then captain James McDonald, has also been interviewed although it is not known whether he has been recalled.

194 comments so far

  • If this is the case the penalties should be massive. Tanking is far more serious in my view than Salary Cap breaches. I would say anything short of extinction would be too soft.

    Commenter
    Toovey
    Date and time
    October 30, 2012, 3:18PM
    • No it's not.

      Commenter
      Knee
      Location
      Jerk
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 3:42PM
    • What was that groan I heard from down Docklands way - was it Vlad or just a passing barge?

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 3:52PM
    • Never bet on something that can talk. Will the betting agencies be providing refunds?

      Commenter
      Marc
      Location
      Disappointed
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 4:05PM
    • I agree, they should have to forfeit draft picks if found guilty of this

      Commenter
      Mick
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 4:12PM
    • Disagree with this. Tanking is the realm of the desperate loooking for hope, salary cap breaches are usually insidous attempts to load up and steal a premiership. Tanking for picks that give you a 'chance' at a better future (any draftee is still a lottery ticket after all) is common in sports across the world. Breaching caps in a capped sport is always unacceptable.

      Really, if you want to do this, good luck to you and your club, it's rarely a fast track to success.

      Commenter
      Davis
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 4:19PM
    • Impact on culture, loss of players = already paid/ still paying a high price. New coach and new players is changing the culture at that level so I think ban all the Coaches and Managers involved for two years and maybe suspend any players for eleven games. They'll lose some drafting as well but maybe this should just be in the National Draft.

      Commenter
      MG
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 4:38PM
    • Just like Collingwood tanked in 2005 to get the likes of Pendlebury and Thomas, in that infamous match against Carlton, hey Toovey!!!

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 4:56PM
    • What's the big deal? This happens in every sports league that has a draft, and it's no bad thing. It's not like the teams involved wouldnt rather be on top. Playing the rookies over the back half of the year both furthers their development, and makes it more likely the team will lose, improving the draft position. Both good things from any team near the bottom. Any team that didnt do this would be idiots.

      Commenter
      Mike G
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 7:29PM
    • I'm with @Davis and @Mike G. This is the AFL's fault, and their new-found vigour is more about their own embarrassment than anything else. Every club has done this or something equivalent. Why wouldn't they? The system devised by the AFL encourages it. Melbourne seem to have been particularly obvious about their efforts - which is embarrassing for the AFL. But how do you define the offence? And how is it different from resting your best players pre-finals? Or playing young players to give them experience? Or not going pedal-to-the-metal when you're 5 goals up with 10 mins to go? It's a ridiculous precedent to set, and the AFL are in a noose of their own making here. It's going to be an uncomfortable period for them, and rightly so. They will rightly be acccused of hypocrisy and double-standards. There will be calls for investigations into other clubs. However when faced with going after powerful, cashed-up Collingwood, for example, they will balk and either ignore it or declare some kind of 'amnesty'. Melbourne may seem like an easy target now, but the AFL will ultimately pay for this. Hopefully it will at least kick-start some kind of meaningful discussion about how the rules might need to change. The witch-hunting is ridiculous.

      Commenter
      alan
      Location
      melton
      Date and time
      October 31, 2012, 11:17AM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Related Coverage

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.50) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($17.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.67)vs WBU ($2.25) 16:35ES
ESS ($6.75)vs RIC ($1.12) 19:20MCG
GCF ($3.30)vs PTA ($1.35) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.05)vs WCE ($1.80) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($4.50)vs SYD ($1.22) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.08)vs MEL ($8.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE ($2.00)vs ADE ($1.75) 13:05SS
BRI ($3.50)vs WBU ($1.28) 13:45G
PTA ($1.75)vs FRE ($2.00) 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($15.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.02)vs GCF ($12.00) 19:20SCG
WCE ($1.11)vs STK ($6.25) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers