"I don't think it was in our best interests to win." - Melbourne forward Russell Robertson in September 2009, speaking about the end of the club's season that year. Robertson was delisted at the end of the season.

"I had no hesitation at all in the first two years of ensuring this club was well placed for draft picks. I have no hesitation in what we've done. I think what we've done is the right thing by the club, and if it cost me my job so be it. But the club is always bigger than the individual." - Dean Bailey at the August 2011 press conference, following his sacking as Melbourne coach.

"Definitely, and I think you would have to be blind freddy to not figure that one out." - Brock McLean in August 2012, when asked if Melbourne's priority in 2009 had been not to win games.

"When I sat down with Dean Bailey and made my decision (to leave), I brought that up with him. I told him what I really thought. We were both on the same page. I really felt for 'Bails' because he was put in a difficult position. I was part of the leadership group that year. 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'." - McLean in the same interview, confirming the issue prompted him to leave Melbourne. He later joined Carlton.

"I knew what they were doing and why they were doing it, but I didn't have to watch it any more." - Former Melbourne chairman Paul Gardner in August 2012.

"I want to make it very clear that we will defend our club's integrity in the strongest fashion. For anyone to suggest that our players did not give their all every time they ran on to the field is not acceptable to us." - Melbourne chairman Don McLardy in August 2012.

"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. People at the club found themselves shrouded in that reality. It went against the grain to find solace in failure but that was the system in place. I do not agree with the AFL's priority pick rules; I see them as being fundamentally flawed." - The late Jim Stynes, in his autobiography, published posthumously in 2012. Stynes was Melbourne's chairman in 2009.


The views of AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou towards tanking:

2005

"I think generally supporters in the main would believe their clubs are trying."

2006

"I've never believed the integrity of the game is under threat. I've got great faith in clubs, coaches and players."

2007

"You know my view on it ... if anyone thinks the priority pick is a panacea for team success, they're delusional."

2008

"It's a nonsensical argument, and one that people should really start to consider when they talk about it because it won't be long before someone at a club takes action against someone for inferring what's going on."

2009

"It (the priority pick rule) won't be changed, boring topic, you can write about it for the next few weeks but it's not changing. I've got a calendar in my office ... tanking (speculation) started about three days earlier than I expected this year."

2011

"I just don't believe it. People are entitled to have their views but we don't share the view that there is tanking. Do I believe that clubs develop their lists and play players in different positions and try things and experiment when they can't make finals? Absolutely. Do I think any player goes out to lose a game? No."

2012

"I've said all along that I don't believe tanking exists ... I've said already that if I'm proven wrong, then so be it."

Compiled by Adam Cooper