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.
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People with no interest in sport don’t understand why sports fans use words like “hero” to describe their favourite sporting figures. They find such terms over-the-top, and best saved for those who make the wider world a better place.
Jim Stynes, the transplanted Irishman and AFL legend, did exactly that. He made the world a better place. Saving his perennially struggling Melbourne Demons made him worthy enough of the hero tag. The Demons, after all, were a much-loved institution facing ruin, and Stynes as chairman mapped out a survival pathway. But it was off field that he made his biggest impact.
Stynes’s Reach Foundation, which delivered programs to tens of thousands of young people annually, was the mark of a man who understood that support is more important than competitiveness for many young people. That a sense of acceptance is often more valuable than the pursuit of excellence. How wonderful that a man who was so excellent himself in so many facets of life should realise this.
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Tempting as it is to bang on about the perennially inept Melbourne Demons, the real story is at the pointy end of the AFL ladder.
Jim Stynes, the admirable Melbourne Demons president, did a good job of being stoic but not stubborn at an emergency press conference today, hot on the heels of his team’s record 186 point weekend thrashing, and the subsequent sacking of coach Dean Bailey.
Amazingly, the woeful Demons are still just a game-and-a-half out of the eight. That says less about them than it does about Collingwood and Geelong. And it leads to one conclusion. The grand final should be played tomorrow.
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