Wilderness for Dees: Kennett
Mark Neeld oversees Melbourne's first training run on Thursday. Photo: Justin McManus
FORMER Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said on Thursday that it appears Melbourne tanked games in 2009 and, if it is found guilty of the offence, could face heavy sanctions that would send it into a decade in the AFL wilderness.
Speaking to Radio 3AW, he also said Adelaide should face severe penalties if found guilty of draft-tampering or breaching the salary cap over allegations the Crows made an agreement to send forward Kurt Tippett to the club of his choosing.
While Melbourne forward Mitch Clark said on Thursday the tanking investigation centred on his club was having no impact on players or coaches, Kennett said the evidence against the club was damning.
He said if guilty, the Demons deserved to be heavily sanctioned and have their board resign.
''If the investigation finds no case to answer, the reality is no one's going to be believe it,'' he said. ''You've got to say on the basis of what's been said [and] what's happening, where there's smoke there's fire.
''There is going to be a severe penalty handed out and Melbourne then are going to have to try to rebuild. There is no alternative to that.
''It is so sad, it is so disgusting, it is so unacceptable. The poor Melbourne supporters and, I think, the poor Adelaide supporters, if their management has done what is alleged to have happened.
''It is unacceptable and the AFL has no alternative but to come down heavily.''
Kennett said if found guilty of breaching the rules, the Demons and Crows should face similar penalties to those imposed on Carlton for salary cap breaches. The Blues were fined $930,000 and stripped of picks in the 2002 and 2003 national drafts.
Kennett was also critical of the AFL for creating an environment where it was in the interests of lowly teams to lose games to gain better draft picks.
While Melbourne's tanking policy sufficiently angered Melbourne's players three years ago, Clark said the AFL probe had no bearing now.
''[There has been] no change whatsoever. We're here for the pre-season, that stuff will take care of itself,'' he said. ''I obviously wasn't here when all this stuff allegedly happened, so I'm just looking forward to helping this team get back up the ladder.
''We don't necessarily use the allegations to drive us to get back up the ladder. What we're here for is to play finals footy.''