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Lions matches under betting scrutiny

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Marissa Calligeros

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AFL investigates irregular betting plunges

The AFL is working with bookmakers to investigate a series of irregular betting plunges.

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The AFL is investigating suspicious spot betting on the first goal scorers in two Brisbane Lions matches in the past month.

Leading Melbourne-based bookmaker Alan Eskander, who has raised concerns about the exotic bets, said the AFL should consider enforcing a "fence" around sensitive game information to ensure it was not inadvertently leaked by officials, club sponsors or players' close associates.

In the past month, three players including Brisbane's Daniel Merrett and Matt Maguire have been solidly backed to kick the first goal of the game before the starting team lists were named on match day, Mr Eskander said.

Brisbane's Matt Maguire (right) has been backed to kick the first goal of a game before the starting team lists were named, according to a bookie.

Brisbane's Matt Maguire (right) has been backed to kick the first goal of a game before the starting team lists were named, according to a bookie. Photo: Paul Harris

Merrett and Maguire, both defenders, started in the forward line against expectations.

Bets were also placed on Hawthorn's Brent Guerra - a midfielder-defender - to score the first goal before it was announced he had been moved to the forward line.

Mr Eskander said Daniel Merrett was backed from $101 in to $15 in the round seven games against the Gold Coast Suns.

In the same round Brent Guerra was backed from $101 in to $26 to kick the first goal against Port Adelaide, he said. Guerra did not kick the first goal.

No more than $200 was wagered on the players on each occasion, Mr Eskander said, although the spot bets were enough to markedly skew the odds.

There is no suggestion the players were in any way involved in the betting plunges.

Brisbane Lions said the club only learned of the accusations this morning and declined to comment further.

Mr Eskander said the AFL would be wise to adopt insider trading protocols around match strategies and team selections.

"It's come to my attention that sponsors walk into a room often before the game and they are privy to line-up information," he said.

"The information that they're privy to is pretty sensitive and as a consequence of that they shouldn't really be discussing this with anybody.

"The AFL needs to create an environment where there is a ring fence around this information, because it's not only players and coaches who are privy to this information."

However AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said administrators were aware of who in each club was privy to team information.

"The AFL has clear guidelines in place under our regulations regarding team information and that's clearly outlined to players and officials and that's regularly stressed at our annual information sessions," he said.

"The guidelines cover all people who have access to the team on match day.

"The AFL, as a matter of cause, regularly looks at betting information around our game; it's a regular thing that we do."

Neil Evans of Centrebet said the agency had not seen similar exotic bets, but acknowledged issues with the release of team information.

"Basically changes in the starting line-up need to be announced immediately," he said.

Mr Evans said insider trading protocols would be difficult to establish.

"If punters are not staff at the club at hand then they're free to have a bet. It's exactly the same as someone getting information on a stock that's about to move," he said.

9 comments so far

  • How about just banning "exotic" bets on events that are unrelated to result of the match?

    Security code - WINMER. Might put $50 on him for 1st goal this weekend against Freo.

    Commenter
    Pavel
    Location
    Syd
    Date and time
    May 24, 2011, 2:08PM
    • It's "Daniel Merrett" not "Merra". Such sloppy journalism, as always.

      Commenter
      Spell checker
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      May 24, 2011, 2:52PM
      • Of course you are correct, Spell Checker. Thanks for alerting us to the typo.

        Commenter
        BT moderator
        Date and time
        May 24, 2011, 3:10PM
        • Get gambling out of AFL! There should be no relationship between gambling and any football code. This includes sponsorship, advertising, commentary and exotic betting. As long as individuals (players, media, trainers, sponsors, venues) have the ability to profit from bets without significant consequences (ie. without costing the game), the game is compromised.

          Commenter
          Robertito
          Location
          Annerley
          Date and time
          May 24, 2011, 3:16PM
          • When a player trains in the forward line and the training session is open to the public, it's not really inside info. Typical bookies having a whinge

            Commenter
            Kram
            Location
            Brisbane
            Date and time
            May 24, 2011, 4:08PM
            • boo-hoo bookmakers, if you don't like it don't offer odds of 50/1 for defenders. They have their finger on the pulse all the time with inside info, much more than the average punter!

              Commenter
              Steve
              Location
              Melb
              Date and time
              May 24, 2011, 4:58PM
              • Gambling on AFL results, exotic or otherwise, just like many other sports is completely open to being abused. The most interesting result on the weekend was when Collingwood stalled for three quarters, then all of a sudden found some incredibly rapid and hot form in the last quarter. The odds were quite lively. I'm not saying anything wrong happened, but if you wanted to back a certain winner at a better price, then that was the game to do it. The AFL has said there is no issue with gambling and their game, but who is watching out for the rigging?

                Commenter
                RobS
                Location
                Southbank
                Date and time
                May 24, 2011, 6:22PM
                • what a joke. if the betting agencys get all their 'inside goss' it goes unheard. they do for every single event. if the punter likes the look of a big defender who is capable of kicking goals and the agency offers $101 to $1 on him, and put a measely $200 on him in the hope of making good they complain. can't have it both ways. if you don't want to get burned, then don't play with fire. no sympathy at all. grow up fools. cop it on the chin. you will always win in the end anyway.

                  Commenter
                  coops
                  Location
                  brissy
                  Date and time
                  May 24, 2011, 9:14PM
                  • Gambling doesn't corrupt sports. Horse racing has had gambling forever and see how clean they are!

                    Commenter
                    Bill
                    Location
                    Balmoral
                    Date and time
                    May 25, 2011, 6:44AM

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