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Tanking affair darkens for Dees

Not talking ... Demons CEO Cameron Schwab.

Not talking ... Demons CEO Cameron Schwab. Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

THE AFL investigation into the Melbourne tanking affair has escalated with several key witnesses coming forward with fresh evidence, including repeated versions of at least one football meeting in 2009, the season in which the club was trying to win no more than four games.

The Age believes Melbourne now faces possible sanctions after league investigators re-interviewed several players and coaches who played a role in the four-point loss in round 18 to Richmond.

It is believed that recently a handful of club personnel have corroborated versions of discussions that took place leading up to some of Melbourne's strange losses that year - culminating in the Richmond loss, which saw Melbourne fans cheering when Tiger Jordan McMahon goaled after the siren.

Club president Don McLardy and his chief executive Cameron Schwab - both of whom also held leadership positions in 2009 - did not return calls from The Age last night. Among those re-interviewed by AFL investigator Brent Clothier were then senior coach Dean Bailey and all his assistants, former captain James McDonald and several teammates.

Football operations manager Adrian Anderson has come under pressure after the fresh tanking allegations, given his keen attention in other areas of the game to preserve its integrity.

Anderson said this month he understood the cynicism from AFL fans and the media but this was misplaced. ''It will take as long as it takes to do a thorough and proper job,'' he said.

The late Melbourne president Jim Stynes, in his book released several months ago, said of the affair: ''Melbourne never sat down our coach, Dean Bailey, and instructed him not to win games. But he, I and everybody at the club knew what an important bearing on the club's future that extra draft pick might have.''

Former player Brock McLean - whose comments prompted the probe - told Fox Footy's On the Couch that tanking prompted him to leave the club. ''Definitely,'' responded McLean, when asked whether his club's priority was not winning in 2009, ''and I think you would have to be blind Freddy to not figure that one out.''

McLean is on leave but has been re-interviewed by the AFL. In 2011, an earlier investigation by the league found the Demons had no case to answer for their actions during Bailey's tenure.

Anderson re-opened the investigation after Bailey, at his farewell press conference after being sacked, came close to admitting he had tanked.

AFL supremo Andrew Demetriou has consistently defended the Demons.

19 comments

  • So Caroline, if the AFL are looking to impose sanctions on the MFC, are they also looking to impose sanctions on Brock McLean for being part of it?

    Commenter
    David
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    October 30, 2012, 11:22AM
    • What is news in this article? Just a rehash of old stuff we already know. A non article, the age!

      Commenter
      Over this
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 12:17PM
    • David I think anyone with a modicum of intelligence can work out that McLean wasn't the one taking the decision to tank, nor was the coach responsible. McLean has made clear that he did not support or endorse it by walking out. Bravo to him. This is down to Scwab and McLardy and unfortunately probably Stynes as well. This helps to explain why when push came to shove with Dean Bailey vs the Melb footy department, Stynes backed Schwab and Connelly who everyone thought were headed out the door. Their silence on the "who did what" had been bought.

      Commenter
      Mark
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 2:05PM
  • Are the AFL also looking to sanction every other club who has not done everything possible to win a particular game of football, e.g. resting players leading up to the finals, rotating players etc.? The AFL wants this to go away because they know it is almost impossible to define, let alone prove and every club will have at some stage done something that could be deemed as tanking.

    Commenter
    buzzhead
    Location
    the beach
    Date and time
    October 30, 2012, 11:38AM
    • If they did decide to win only four games because it might result in a long term improvement of their team that the tactic seems like a good one! No different to a company "restructuring" - incurring up front costs for longer term gain. Good strategy, made at executive level, and thats it. Nothing to see here so lets move on.

      Commenter
      SAW
      Location
      monsterandy@yahoo.com
      Date and time
      October 30, 2012, 11:42AM
      • I think there is a big difference betwen not concentrating on winning as a focus and actively trying to lose games. I cant see any AFL players, coaches or adminisrations trying to lose games.

        Having said that, focussing on youth by playing younger players, playing a system that may not be the best way to win right now but that may help with those younger players' development can all contribute towards worse than expected results.

        A team fighting for a finals place will play a guy who isnt 100% and perhaps look at changing things up when losses pile up. A team at the very bottom has no reason to do those things, and I think its generally acceptable.

        (note: I'm not a Dees fan)

        Commenter
        Steve
        Location
        Albert Park
        Date and time
        October 30, 2012, 12:04PM
        • In this society we live in everything is equal. TREAT Melbourne as harshly as you would Carlton please AFL.

          Commenter
          Ben
          Date and time
          October 30, 2012, 12:08PM
          • Correct me if I'm wrong Brock McLean but you played for the Dees against the Blues in the Kreuzer Cup. You know, the game where Blues players were spraying shots miles wide from set shots 30m out directly in front.As a Melbourne supporter watching that game I can confidently say if the Blues were winning by a couple of goals at 3 qtr time and the Dees refused to take the field, the Blues players would've rushed 13 behinds to put us in front. As for the game against the Tigers, Richmond won after Jordan McMahon marked just outside the 50m arc marginally after the final siren and drilled his first kick that actually managed to hit it's target all match and the disappointment in the Richmodn coaches box was clear to see, making me wonder how much they wanted to win also.

            Commenter
            Hank Scorpio
            Date and time
            October 30, 2012, 12:19PM
            • Gee this offseason kicked in quick for you didn't it Caro. Already trying to re-open stories from the vault. It's a real shame that even "journalists" (and I use that term loosely as all you seem to ever do is go after CEO's of clubs you don't like) like you don't have a proper grasp of what tanking actually is.

              Commenter
              realist
              Date and time
              October 30, 2012, 12:23PM
              • And Carlton? Kreuzer Cup? it is hardly an issue.

                Commenter
                I have seen the future
                Location
                Perth
                Date and time
                October 30, 2012, 12:41PM

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