This became controversial, and there were accusations by commentators that teams out of finals contention would tank towards the end of the season to gain access to the additional draft picks.
Most football fans would also have predicted such a turn of events, and the “Matthew Kreuzer Cup” became a famous example of a game that both clubs would benefit from losing.
It appeared that almost everyone believed that tanking was going on. Everyone that was except former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou.
Demetriou consistently maintained that no team had ever set out to deliberately lose games and secure draft picks. “I have no evidence to support the view that tanking exists,” he told the Herald Sun in February 2013.
“If you are asking me the question that has been asked before: ‘Do I think players purposely go out to lose games? I’ve said in my heart of hearts I don’t believe that ever to be the case.”
Asked if coaches could orchestrate tanking, Demetriou said: “Well, we’ve got no evidence to support otherwise…and we have got very, very good investigators.”
So tanking never happened according to Demetriou. Yet the Melbourne Football Club was fined $500,000 by the AFL, even though it was found not guilty of tanking. Such was the farce, that when Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan announced the punishment (Demetriou did not front the conference), he admitted he did not know exactly what tanking was. We are entitled to expect much better from the game’s governing body.
I have no evidence to support the view that tanking exists.
I don’t know what the definition of tanking is.
Let’s call it what it really is. Tanking is a nice word, but it’s match fixing.
It is likely that the AFL will find a way to punish Melbourne in order to protect its own image.
A defiant Andrew Demetriou says tanking has never taken place in the AFL
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan defends league’s probe into Melbourne tanking scandal
Gillon McLachlan rejects claims of tanking whitewash
3AW Melbourne on Twitter: AFL boss is in the studio