Judgement day looms for the Adelaide Football Club, with the delayed AFL Commission into charges of salary cap breaches and draft tampering finally being heard after months of frenzied media speculation.
Facing the AFL today will be Adelaide CEO Steven Trigg, football operations manager Phil Harper and the former general manager of football operations, who oversaw the Tippett deal, John Reid, as well as the man at the center of the controversy, former Adelaide player Kurt Tippett.
Speculation continues to mount with rumours that Tippett, who has removed himself from Adelaide’s playing list and nominated for the Pre-Season Draft on December 13th, will be pleading guilty and accepting a suspension of up to 12weeks as well as a considerable fine. It is possible that such a large suspension could result in Tippett’s asking price, rumoured to be $3.5 million over four years, taking a dip given he may well be unavailable for the majority of a season.
The 25-year-old forward, who played 104 games for Adelaide for a return of 188 goals, has made public his desire to play for reigning AFL premiers Sydney, but with Giants having the earlier selection in the draft order, if they want the key position forward and pinch-hitting ruckman, they will be able to take him. With the recent mutual parting of ways with Israel Folau, they’ll also be able to afford Tippett’s hefty salary if they select him.
Adelaide’s communication manager David Burtenshaw has tweeted before the hearing “Huge day for our footy club. Some really good people involved.”
Some punishment has already been levied at the Crows as they voluntarily sacrificed their first two selections in the 2012 National Draft and were forced to delist youngster Nick Joyce in order to make room on their list. Now that Tippett has been delisted, they receive no compensation for a player who has arguably developed into one who would have provided rich pickings at the trade table. Financial penalties aside, which are sure to be significant, Adelaide is also thought to be a chance of losing its first-round pick in the 2013 National Draft.
Adelaide has had a longstanding reputation for adherence to the rules and a very strict moral approach to the ethos of the club, which last year saw head recruiter Matt Rendell forced to resign for racist remarks he made during a private meeting with AFL multicultural boss Jason Mifsud that were leaked to the public. While Trigg and Harper may only face suspensions, it does not seem reasonable that Adelaide would allow continued association with the club by two individuals who have done far more damage to the brand than Rendell’s misguided remarks ever did.
The Adelaide Football Club and its members will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the AFL Commission as the Tippett saga finally draws to a close. They want this dark chapter of their history to be finished, to enable them to begin an attempt at a successful tilt at the premiership in the 2013 season.
The desperation for premiership success will be felt even more keenly by the Crows in the next three years when the effects of their punishment will be felt as their list ages, and they will then notice the lack of first-round talent they missed out on in the previous drafts.