Friday, 5 April 2019

Revenge of the Tankquiry


Welcome back, for about the fourth time, the zombie scandal that will never die. Last seriously referenced by Paul Roos in 2014, the decade old shenanigans that landed us the first two picks of the 2009 draft have roared back to life. Completely coincidentally, I'm sure, just as we're pointing backwards for the first time since Roos was appointed transcripts (1 and 2) from the AFL's post Brock McLean On The Couch inquest have been released.

To save you the trouble I've read all 83 pages and summarised the key points below. Full disclosure before we start that I want to believe Bailey over the other two, but there are still holes in his story that make it hard to be absolutely certain of what happened. Besides, the allegations were never tested anywhere other than AFL investigation that had as much credibility as a North Korean show trial so I'm not making any final judgements on what happened. However, what I will say is that I find it hard to believe Bailey would have been so traumatised about his experiences with our administration that he'd risk his future in the industry by dragging an invented story across a number of interviews.

There are no amazing revelations, just enhanced detail on all the stuff that was being leaked to Caroline Wilson mid-enquiry, encouraging her to incorrectly guess we'd be bombed off the face of the planet. It was big laughs at her expense when that didn't happen, but when you read this you do get a sense that we were bloody lucky not to be wiped out.

As you no doubt already know, Bailey reluctantly went along with somebody else's bullshit plan (it should be noted, much to the delight of many fans), but the great debate is whether Chris Connolly and Cameron Schwab ever officially ordered shenanigans or whether the coach felt an implied pressure that he had to deliver the picks to save his and his colleague's jobs. And after reading the lot, I reckon there's even an unconvincing case that nobody actually tanked, and we just followed the development plan that was in place from the start of the year but with a shitload of external noise and scandalous chatter.

What this has done is better clarify some of the sides in the off-field struggles that ended in 186. Looks like Connolly, Schwab and Kelly O'Donnell vs everyone else. It also reaffirms my view that we were bonkers to extend Schwab's contract twice in the years after this, but I can see why Connolly was coincidentally shifted to a non-footy role at the end of 2011.

A summary of the transcripts follow:

First Bailey interview (August 2012)

  • They rarely reference 2008, but when he says development was the priority and winning was a bonus (so far, so like every other pox team ever) I can only assume that was the plan right from the start and not something new after we won the '08 spoon
  • Speaking of 2009, he blamed a raft of pre-season injuries on having to train on a number of different grounds - including Moorabbin.
  • He'd communicated to the board that the first phase of his development plan was getting players fit.
  • It's gentlemen, start your sour comments as he says about Connolly and Schwab "they were coaches those two, the best coaches in the world... some of the greatest football minds in the world". Later says "maybe if they were coaching they might have done a better job than me". Cop that.
  • Says he felt pressure not to win more than five games from administrators, 'outside', and even directly from fans at games. Probably the same dickheads who later discovered email and started hammering paul.roos@melbournefc.com.au.
  • In this interview he says he didn't feel as if his contract would be terminated if he didn't do "as he was told". I had to go back and re-read that bit to make sure I hadn't misinterpreted him, but no he actually does say that (refer page 8) before changing his tune in later interviews.
Second Bailey interview (October 2012)
  • Says that after we beat Port (good day out, Jurrah ran riot), Schwab came in to the rooms shaking his head, mumbling something like "we've got to think about the club's future" and claims Connolly said "fucking Jimmy had just fallen out of his bloody hospital bed". This seems to implicate Stynes in any nefarious plan, but surely he had more important things on his mind at the time that getting involved in this bullshit? He did moderately torch Schwab in his book, but then he re-signed him after 186 so hard to decide where he stands.
  • Claims that at the famous Vault meeting on the Monday morning after the Port win, Connolly rocked in, picked up a texta (Whiteboard Monday) and wrote "Scully" and "Trengove".
  • Mentions Connolly and Schwab "rang each other about 20 times a day". Don't forget that under our football structure, Bailey reported to Connolly - one of the people he'd beaten for the job.
  • Now says he felt his job was on the line if we didn't get the draft picks, then says "I was threatened if we don't get it, I wouldn't have a job, even though I was contracted for next year". No hard evidence provided on how the threat was delivered, where and by who.
  • Late in 2011 - specifically the Carlton game - we rested players under the guise of being 'injured'. Somebody leaked this fact to the investigators, and Bailey says he has no idea who did that. In a later interview he says they would have been rested anyway but it would have been too scandalous to openly say that.

Third Bailey interview (November 2012):

  • Bailey says Connolly threatened him with the sack if he won too many games, and Schwab leaned heavily on him by saying things like "the future of the club is in your hands" but never accuses him of pressure in anywhere near the same terms as he does Cuddles.
  • At the time of the original Tankquiry there were suggestions that Connolly's pro-tanking comments in The Vault were a joke that had been misinterpreted or misunderstood. In the transcripts published, nobody ever references the comments as being anything other than serious. On the other hand, Bailey suggested he "exploded and erupted".
  • Says nobody ever flat out told him "don't win games or you'll be sacked", but claims Connolly was mind-blowingly cavalier during the year about the prospect of priority picks
  • Quite rightly suggests that before Round 15 our level of experimentation was appropriate for a developing (e.g. rubbish) team but that it went haywire after Round 15. There's a surprise SME reference, when his appearances as a back, forward and ruck are cited as legal random shit we'd done earlier in the year.
  • By this time the AFL investigator is obviously sick of the whole thing, and tries his best to lead the witness. He's never handed the smoking gun he's dying for. Bailey claims he and other staff were the subject of "bullying and harassment" and flat out says "I was threatened" but doesn't go into any further depth.  
  • The investigator suggests Connolly said "You will be sacked if you win too many games", and Bailey replies "yes, absolutely", and that's why they ramped up the experimentation. Flat out says he never threw games or instructed players to lose.
  • There are multiple references across the interviews with coaching staff to players prematurely being packed away for surgery. I'm not buying this as a massive factor, of the players who didn't make it to the end of the year the only established best 22 players were Green (out after Round 16 with a broken hand), Warnock (injured after Round 18), Bruce (out after Round 19). Grimes was also out after Round 18, but knowing his record he was probably legitimately crocked. We had plenty of quality (relatively speaking) left in the side beyond those three so don't know how much difference it would have made.
  • Bailey is presented the interchange numbers for the year, showing them dropping after the Port game, picking up again for the win over Freo, then going downhill again. He wonders if injuries were involved but concedes they were lower than usual. This angle - and how much control the coach had over it - deserved more scrutiny
  • For his part, the coach chucks another bomb at Connolly, suggesting he "basically ran the bench", and sent reports back that players couldn't return to the game because they were injured. He says "Chris was very controlling during that period", and that he thought it was odd that he'd be making decisions on injured players rather than doctors. He cites a particular game where the SME was supposedly unable to go back on due to injury but ended up with no actual injury symptoms after the game. Wondering if this was the famous Jordan McMahon game where only played 36% game time.
  • Asked if these decreased rotations would have harmed performance, Bailey concedes it would. When it's put to him that he was doing it to "satisfy" Connolly and Schwab he said "Chris was in control, so he was satisfying himself". He hypothesises that Connolly would report to Schwab, and that he had to make sure the handbrake was applied himself because he didn't trust the coaches to do it.
  • It's put to Bailey that Connolly said he was never on the bench or had a matchday role in 2009, to which he is incredulous and says "that's a lie. I'm sure you could find vision of him sitting on the bench". Which I suppose you could, I might watch that sick one point Brisbane win again and see if he's captured directing traffic. Maybe he only went down there 'later' in the season.
  • Connolly is also said to have no involvement in match committee, to which Bailey replies "Did you ask him how many times he walked in and out of match committee?" It's suggested Connolly would duck in and out of meetings offering suggestions, including post-game reviews.
  • When it's further put to him that Connolly said he "never interfered in how the team was coached or managed", Bailey says "Unfortunately for Chris, you could line up 100 people out the door. All would tell you it was a lie. Seriously, out of control" and "I can't wait for the next rock to be lifted and there will be another story. He wanted a statue built. How he saved the Melbourne Footy Club". Rowr.
  • Bailey suggests Connolly might have been pressuring players behind his back, and that he didn't think he could coach. Who'd have thought that giving the bloke who missed the coaching job a consolation prize might come back to haunt us?
  • Round 21 is the second most referenced game behind Richmond. Surprisingly the last round against St Kilda, where we arguably did more suspect shit, is barely touched on. Mention is made of Nathan Jones being dropped for the Carlton game to give 'somebody else' a go (probably Jordie McKenzie, he came back after three weeks out for his second) game and playing Matthew Whelan in the last three games just to get him to 150. Sadly there's never one reference to him having such a rooted hammy in the last game that he could barely run, let alone kick the footy.
  • He's given the injury list for the Carlton game and effectively asked if it was legitimate. He says he had no reason to doubt the doctor's opinion, but is confronted with official injury lists that show players who aren't on the doctor's list. Says he had nothing to do with the official injury list as submitted to AFL/media and that it was controlled by Connolly.
  • The investigator sticks the boots in to the Tim Ruffles powered 2009 Fremantle Dockers by suggesting "you couldn't lose that match", then points out the team changes between that game and Carlton a week later (IN: Valenti, McKenzie, Whelan + Jamar late, OUT: Bartram, Dunn, Miller + Jones late - all of who came back a week later) and suggests something suss was going on. There certainly was, Jamar kicking five.
  • When asked how much Schwab knew, he suggests that Connolly wouldn't have been able to restrain himself from telling people what he was doing. Says Schwab and Connolly were "thick as thieves" and always talking to each other.
  • Asked if he considered going to others (football director Andrew Leoncelli is mentioned by name) and revealing he felt threatened Bailey says he should have but felt like the 'process' had the tacit approval of the board so what good would it have done. 
  • He was contracted through 2010, but believed his job was in danger if we didn't get the priority pick. There's something to this, it wouldn't have been hard to convince people to chuck him pretty quickly the season following dual wooden spoons. At that stage nobody saw us becoming a downright reasonable team in 2010, so I can understand his concern. Still, you'd think they'd have had too much to lose to rush forcing him out and give him the chance to spill the beans on what was going on.
  • So, for this reason it's no surprise that when offered a one year extension to the end of 2011 (nearly made it) he jumped at it. He didn't even negotiate on salary, just taking what they offered to get an extra year of security. Nobody ever insinuates it was a payoff (either said or unsaid) for keeping quiet, but even if we were in an acknowledged development phase it's hard to understand what the hurry was to lock away a guy who'd just presided over a pair of spoons. Sure, you don't want season three to be played out against a media sacking frenzy, but it would have been less suss if they'd waited until early in the season instead of doing it in February.
  • It's obvious that he didn't like Schwab, but despised Connolly. They talk about a meeting in early 2010 where Connolly supposedly went off on him nearly costing us the picks. Bailey says he was told: "You almost fucked it up, you and your fucking persistence, fucking know everything and you fucking almost fucked it up". Which is just how you want your 
  • Around the same time of the "you fucking almost fucked it up" story they talk about a newspaper story suggesting Connolly had been meeting with players, Bailey all but says Connolly gave it to the papers himself. Given that the club was leaking like a sieve at the time it could have come from anyone. Most of the leaks were going straight to Caro, but I can't find this article online so must have been in the Herald Sun. Anyone got a copy?
And that's all from Bails. All that has been released anyway. Now, on to the 58 pages of interviews with other identities. These are heavily edited, so some context may be missed. If you're well connected feel free to send me more documents. 
  • Brock McLean 
    • Consistent with the comments that kicked this whole farrago off, he says players were never instructed to play badly but thought putting them in random positions wasn't good for the team. Felt development was being prioritised over winning, and could understand the general concept but believed he was past that stage and wanted to win
    • Speculates that Bailey was put in an uncomfortable position by 'others'
  • The non-Choke Yourself With A Tie Mark Williams. Who provided such quality content he got interviewed four times.
    • Plays an admirable straight bat - saying we won "either four or five games". Mate, if we won five we wouldn't be in this situation.
    • Says the goal in 2009 was to get players into young games and build bodies
    • Players were told upfront that we were going to "develop the flexibility of playing group" by trying them in alternative positions
    • Denies the famous Paul Johnson vs Nathan Brown matchup was a rort by suggesting Johnson was only covering for somebody else for two minutes. Also says he'd spent six months trying to convince Bailey to play Warnock forward (as he had for Sandringham). Strange that they never did it again after this game to try and make it look less suss.
    • Understandably says there was no feeling Bailey or the other assistants weren't trying their best
    • Says Connolly spoke about priority picks "a lot", and that coaches would reference them as "his baby" Williams got the impression Connolly was trying to interfere with coaching decisions.
    • He was insulted by Connolly's purported actions in the Vault. Said he would come into meetings, "shoot his mouth off", then leave and that the coaches were "really pissed off". Credits Bailey with being "fantastic" and saying that they'd continue following their own development plan despite the pressure. The other coaches looked to Bailey for leadership about what they'd do next after Round 15. Says there was probably a lot more going on but Bailey shielded them from it.
    • "Wouldn't be astounded" if Connolly came up with the plan to score priority picks, but would be astounded if he was "trying to influence the whole thing by himself". And we all know who that's implicating.
    • Suggests Bailey was told he'd be sacked if we didn't get the picks - but doesn't offer any evidence of where and when this was supposed to have happened. Said Bailey was "under the pump to experiment".
  • Josh Mahoney - about the only person involved in this who has something to lose from it being dredged up.
    • Said the focus was on developmen and that we"weren't good enough at times to win games". He didn't feel pressure from above to lose, and never asked Bailey if he was getting any.
    • Says he felt like we wanted to win all the time. References Garland and Rivers playing forward in 2012 as an example of strange moves paying off.
    • Whoever was typing up the notes fell into the trap that has befallen so many Melbourne fans and talks about "Jarrah". Shame they never had to have a go at Wonaeamirri. The investigstor references Jurrah kicking three goals against Richmond, confusing it with the last round against St Kilda. Possibly due to this confusion they never reference the excessive time he spent on the bench in that game after kicking the goals.
    • Says he had a post-Vault conversation with Bailey where he asked "are you comfortable with this?" and the coach said words to the effect of "We have to do what we've got to do". Understandably Bailey never mentions this, as it wouldn't help his argument that he was carrying on regardless of what anyone else thought.
  • Chris Connolly
    • Cites Jamar going forward and kicking five against Carlton as a win for the development program. Which is iffy because he was a late replacement, and a big part of the case for the defence rests on us not pulling random, unnecessary late changes. He points out Jamar later became an All-Australian. Yeah, but not as a full forward
    • Says he 'rarely' went to match committee, never had a matchday role and rarely went to training due to doing 'club activities'. The matchday role bit is a massive conflict with Bailey's testimony
    • Asked if the priority pick factored into our strategies at the start of the year he says "Absolutely not. A hundred per cent not"
    • Suggests that the lowered interchange numbers were because they wanted to "maintain our energy out on the field" and talks like that was his idea
    • Says he didn't observe anything to suggest Bailey coaching to lose and denies ever having a conversation with Bailey, Schwab or any other executives about priority picks.
    • Nobody raised concerns with him about playing or being coached to lose
    • A quote attributed to him in The Vault was "We're all going to be out of a job, the Zulus are going to be coming over the hill, we're all gonna look like idiots, this has got to happen".
    • Denies threatening Bailey's job, and when asked if he thinks Bails hates him so much he'd effectively suicide bomb him his career just to get vengeance he says "yeah".
    • Denies spraying Bailey at the 2010 meeting
    • Claims Bailey tried to get him sacked, including going to the board and accuses him of leaking to the media. Doesn't say when, but this fits neatly into the 2011 Andrews Report era chaos. Any danger of that scathing, and as it turns out pretty much ignored, document getting released next?
  • David Dunbar
    • Development phase gets another mention. Says his role all year was observing opposition clubs, which is a nice way of taking the heat off yourself for what the people that employ you did
    • Didn't feel Bailey was under pressure to lose
    • There's a reference here to an earlier Bailey interview where players came to him to express concern about whether the club was trying to win games.
    • Paul Johnson on Nathan Brown and Frawley/Warnock forward gets another run
    • Says no senior managers or administrators came into the box Ted Parker style during the Richmond game. It's not clarified if they were there to start with.
    • Is the most guarded about The Vault, saying he felt it was more a case of everyone getting the boot if we continued to be shite rather than anything to do with the tanking.
  • Kelly O'Donnell
    • View was to try and get games into required players and create midfield depth  Then we drafted two top midfielders and still had the worst crop in the league three years later.
    • Says there was no evidence coaches weren't trying to win. Blames long term injuries
    • Never discussed pressure to lose with Bailey.
    • The notes say he "denies The Vault meeting took place", but right under that there's a comment that "I can't recall him (Connolly) saying we had to lose games" which I guess is a reference to general conversation rather than the meeting he doesn't recall.
  • Cameron Schwab
    • Says it was a full list rebuild and praises Bailey for his commitment to getting games into players.
    • When asked how often he met Bailey to discuss the team and coaching he responds with a smart-arse "Not as often as you would hope"
    • Says he never instructed Bailey not to win five matches but did discuss priority picks with Bailey and the perception that they might be seen to be tanking
    • Says nobody in the club was suggesting to play for picks
    • Admits he was in the coaches' box for the Richmond game, but clarifies it was the 'stats' box
    • Admits he knew there would be 'noise' about the Richmond game because "we had Melbourne supporters who were going to the game hoping we'd lose". And those people went home chuffed.
    • There's an unfortunate edit here just as it gets interesting. When asked about him thinking Bailey was "courageous" about the rebuild his response about him being sacked was "the club fell to pieces" but it cuts off there before we can get any insight into 186. 
    • Refers to the suggestion the post-Round 15 tanking was under his instruction as "crap"
    • Also calls "crap" on the claim he was glum after beating Port and said something like "you've got to remember where we're going to get at the end of the year". Says he is "hurt and offended" by the suggestion
    • Bailey's performance appraisal was done jointly between Schwab and Connolly. That must have been fun for all involved.
  • Barry Prendergast
    • Admits they discussed what you'd do with the priority pick, but says nobody ever said they'd play for it.
    • Describes the top two selections as "critically important" for the club
    • Says nothing ever made him suspicious that team was tanking
    • Is specifically asked if he knows what 'The Vault' is and says yes.
    • Felt Bailey didn't want to go along with the tanking
    • First and only mention of Bailey saying something about wanting to "see everyone's hand in a bucket of shit", and believed everyone would be fired if they didn't go along with the tank
  • James McDonald
    • Plays one of the straightest bats ever and gives the investigator NOTHING. One word "no" answers and a lot of "I can't recall". Good on him.
    • Says he wasn't aware of the players approaching Bailey, as claimed by the coach
  • James Frawley
    • Wasn't aware of players approaching Bailey either
    • Thought playing forward against Richmond was unusual but never heard anyone say they wanted to win less than five games
  • Paul Johnson
    • Priority picks never discussed among playing group or coaches.
    • Said he "noticed a change" in Bailey "through the season" but there's an edit and they don't give any further context 
    • Didn't think anything of playing on Brown and never questioned it
  • Sean Wellman
    • Had a feeling that Bailey was being pressured to lose games, but had no proof. Felt the message from Connolly at the meeting was clear, and pro-priority pick
    • Understood the "aggressive long-term view" to rebuilding the list and cites Geelong. Who haven't finished in the bottom two since 1975 or last since 1958. So not the best comparison but bless him for having a go.
    • Says a few players came to him with concerns about position changes (presumably against Richmond)
    • Can't remember Bailey ever complaining, but says he was "fairly agitated"
  • Andrew Leoncelli
    • "There's no way it's humanly possible for him (Bailey) to have not tried to win", which I think is a compliment
    • Says playing for picks never discussed at board level. Everyone is polite enough not to drag the reputation of the late Jim Stynes through the mud by asking if he knew anything
    • Amusing said Bailey "inherited possibly the worst bunch of players that nearly ever run out on the MCG"
  • Andrew Daff
    • Says he couldn't remember anything about a meeting where Connolly allegedly told everyone they had to tank. The investigator doesn't think much about that line of defence, only for Daff to say he can't even remember if he was present. Personally I can't see why a doctor would have been there.
    • Says "the coach looked disappointed even though we were in front" against Richmond. As opposed to all the other times when Bails was wearing a beaming smile while coaching?
    • Never directly requested to rest somebody unnecessarily
  • Joel Hocking
    • Discussed a three to four year plan to develop players starting in 2009
    • Says emphasis was on improving "everything" because "we were starting at the bottom"
    • Says the training regime was consistent all year and not altered towards end of season
    • More discussion of the meeting. Suggestion that Mark Williams was most emotional about Connolly's comments, and that Bailey was trying to draw Connolly into being more direct about what he was saying
    • Alleged Connolly said "people's jobs were on the line" at the meeting.
  • Ian Flack
    • Says Schwab had "negative" body language in the rooms after beating Port Adelaide
    • Adds more weight to the Vault story, saying Connolly mentioned "everyone's job was on the line if we didn't make it happen". Believed it was a directive not to win more than four games
    • Stood out to him that Bailey wasn't happy and wasn't participating in the discussion
    • Puts Kelly O'Donnell in it by saying he was the only person other than Connolly who ever mentioned the priority picks and suggests there was pressure on him to report back to Connolly if the rest of them weren't following the plan.
    • Mentions "CEO's in the box asking questions" during the Richmond game. So, now we've had Schwab not there, in a separate stats box, and this implication that he was right in the mix
    • Says both Connolly and Kelly O'Donnell had been in the box during games, making decisions about if players could continue after being 'injured'. This is consistent with what we heard earlier, but now with them doing it from the box not the boundary line
    • Our first mention of the famous Red and Blueprint, but the paragraph (end page 37) is so confusing I can't work out what he's trying to say. Says he expressed a desire to Connolly to debate the strategy with Schwab but doesn't appear to have happened.
  • Scott West - trying to understand how he went from winning seven straight best and fairests to this:
    • About the Vault meeting, he says Connolly interrupted "which is not uncommon" and gave his opinion on how many games we should win
    • Reiterates what others have said about Bailey being disengaged during the meeting
    • Connolly never said to tank, but West read between the lines that it was what was expected to happen
  • Craig Notman
    • Suggested that the five players taken out of the side against Carlton under the guise of injury was to give other players opportunities.
    • Believed Connolly and Schwab were "pushing people into situations" they weren't comfortable with, and that Bailey was backed into a corner.
    • Makes a topical (in 2012) reference to "players going to the point to try and remove a CEO". And how did we handle that? By extending his contract of course.
  • Don McLardy
    • Obviously didn't deliver much of value because his contribution has been cut to one question saying he didn't have knowledge of The Vault meeting, and that Dean was a decent, good man.
In a way it's telling that the majority of the people in the coaches/players camp listed above left by the end of 2011. In another way we'd just had a coach sacked and lost a game by 31 goals so you can't be surprised at a mass evacuation - just a bit suss that everyone in the other group lived to fight another day.

So, after all that my TL:DR reading of events is:
  • Knowing we'd be rubbish, and with a bunch of injuries to deal with early in the year, 2009 was expected to be a development season. I assume they didn't think we could win four games even if we were trying. 
  • The back-to-back West Coast/Port wins and the upcoming free kick against the Dockers  seemed to cause a panic reaction and emergency application of the handbrake. This was not an artful long term conspiracy, but a ham-fisted, last minute effort at achieving what 'they' thought was the secret to our success
  • I can certainly understand how it was found to be the action of rogue individuals and not the club itself. There's not a cracker of evidence in what was released yesterday to suggest that it was a widespread conspiracy, and in retrospect I suppose the $500,000 fine was fair enough sanction for everyone seemingly knowing something was afoot (though they all had their eyes open to degrees on what was really happening) and nobody doing anything to stop it...
  • ... but however guilty we are, what does it say about the AFL that they saw everything that happened against Richmond and yet we were still allowed to be pulling suspicious moves weeks later. I doubt they interviewed their own people, but I'd love know if anyone from the league at least picked up the phone in the wake of that loss and said "this looks shithouse, what are you up to?" and issued a few threats about sanctions if we didn't stop being so obvious about 'development'. No bloody wonder they covered it up twice when their inaction enabled everything that happened from the moment Jordan McMahon kicked his goal until the final siren of Round 22
  • Based on the transcripts only I can see why Connolly went down. Again, what actually happened I don't know but he was certainly paying for being in the minority faction of the war. Fortunately for him, once the Teflon Don Garry Lyon turned up at the end of 2011 he and Schwab were back in business. 
  • Bailey, on the other hand, obviously had to go as he was the leader of record of the team but I wonder how far - just based on what's been released - he would have got challenging his own sanction in court. There is still no concrete evidence that he actually chucked games. The interchange numbers are almost the most damning stat, but he's got a half-convincing cover story. He's certainly guilty of not blowing the whistle, but by the sounds of it what would have blown it on? Unless he could have tricked somebody into writing it down or done CIA style secret recordings inside the Vault it would have been career suicide. At least this way he got another job instead of being blackballed and bricked in the street by fans who were 100% horny for Scullgove.
  • I've always wondered how Schwab got away without sanctions, and this goes some way to answering my question. He clearly retains a distance from the main controversy. On the other hand, how he kept escaping with his job I don't know.
  • We don't know enough about Stynes and McLardy's involvement due to one being deceased and the other having his testimony cut down to 10% of a page, but for everything Leoncelli said about the board not being involved surely somebody would have thought "christ, this doesn't look good for us" and would have a word to the coach. Maybe they did it through the CEO instead and that's why it went nowhere?
  • For all the moral turmoil now and Connolly being held up as the bad guy, let's not forget that if you flash back to Round 16, 2009 his stance would be considered revolutionary by most fans. 'We' wanted the tanking, we got it. Just that people thought it was an artfully constructed scheme, not a seat-of-the-pants panic session.
Anyway that, until the inevitable extra leaks on Monday if the story gets any traction today and the living certainty of a snarky Caro column in The Age, is that. You can also expect a couple of old players to be dragged out for comment (1), as well as Paul Gardner sticking his nose in again even though he was long out the door by the time this happened.

My highlight has been the people making anguished cries that we should be retrospectively wiped out for our crimes. This ignores that the leaked documents were part of the investigation that the Andrew Demetriou led administration used to conveniently sweep the issue under the rug in early 2013. The $500,000 not guilty tax and a couple of token suspensions was a ripping result for a club that would have struggled to survive apocalyptic penalties and we thank him for his help.

Never forget:



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