According to the AFL, this is definitely not a tank
OK. So if the AFL says the Melbourne Demons didn’t tank, then I guess they didn’t tank. Phew. That’s a relief.
It’s great news that Melbourne didn’t deliberately lose games in 2009 to secure top draft picks for the following season. That’d be really serious and people would have to be punished.
Never mind that the AFL did punish people yesterday. The Melbourne footy club was fined half a million bucks, while its former coach Dean Bailey and football manager Chris Connolly were both suspended.
But they weren’t punished for tanking. Oh, no. As the AFL announced yesterday, its seven month forensic investigation found absolutely no evidence of tanking.
Say those words again: forensic investigation. You can just see that redhead guy from CSI Miami hovering over the Melbourne footy club computers with his head cocked and a little dust brush in his hands.
You don’t argue with a forensic investigation. If CSI AFL found no evidence of tanking, then there was no tanking. As the AFL’s mini-Demetriou, Gillon McLachlan, said yesterday:
“There is no allegation that is able to be sustained that Dean Bailey didn’t coach on his merits or any players didn’t play to their utmost abilities”.
There it is, then. For the last time, tanking never happened.
Which just leaves one question. Why, exactly, did the AFL go medieval on the Demons, Bailey and Connolly?
According to McLachlan “Connolly has accepted he went into a football department meeting and he made a terrible and stupid decision in the context of an AFL rule that has now changed (priority draft picks) and in the context of a pressure and expectation of success.
“He [Connolly] made a comment regarding the performance of the team, a desire to secure a priority pick, and I know he now regrets that comment,” McLachlan continued.
So Connolly has now been outed for a year for having a conversation. And Bailey has copped a long spell for “bowing to pressure and making decisions in regards to selection and player management”.
All of which, said CSI AFL, added up to “conduct unbecoming”.
If you didn’t know better, you’d swear the duo were punished for conspiring to put an even less competitive team on the field than the usual Demons rabble.
But no. We know that didn’t happen because that would have amounted to tanking. And CSI AFL assures us there’s been nothing like that going on.
Why on earth would anyone doubt them?
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