The investigation into Melbourne’s tanking looks to be coming to a close as reports say that the Demons face a $500,000 fine but will escape being stripped of draft picks.

It is also reported that Melbourne CEO Cameron Schwab will escape penalty while former coach Dean Bailey, now working at Adelaide, will be sitting on the sidelines for three months. Club development manager Chris Connolly will be the only active Demons official that will receive a suspension.

Deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan is known to be responsible for recommending these punishments to the AFL, although a Melbourne spokesperson confirmed that the club had not been informed of an official outcome from the investigation. The AFL Commission will meet on Monday and most likely finalise penalties.

Melbourne has already stated that it will fight its integrity, even if it crosses over into the home and away season.

Although we can all be glad that most of the tanking headlines are behind us, you could certainly be forgiven for questioning the time that this information became known to the public. The article on the AFL website containing official information regarding the situation was published at 7:54pm AEDT – four minutes after the commencement of the second NAB Cup leg played between the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood.

In fact, most football supporters completely missed the news. It’s as though the issue was forcefully shoved under the rug whilst the attention of AFL fans was firmly on the football.

The facts fall more in favour of the Demons losing games with the intention to secure draft picks, however, it is not the only case of a team intentionally losing in the past decade. Melbourne fans that finally heard the news questioned why the Demons were receiving punishment whilst other clubs in similar situations were not investigated. It seems as though the most convenient publishing time was selected so that the issue would miss major headlines and it would be as though nothing had happened.

Whether it was it was an intentional publishing strategy or a coincidental convenience, the culmination to months of speculation and investigation was announced with a mere whisper in a crowd that had fixed its focus on something more important.

Although the AFL Commission will meet on Monday and finalise punishments, chances are we have already received information regarding accurate punishments considering these are the recommendations of Gillon McLachlan.

A serious lack of accountability has been shown as information of likely tanking penalties for Melbourne have surfaced. This is something that AFL boss Andrew Demetriou denied was even an issue, then was reluctant to investigate, then was seemingly passionate to get to the bottom of. Now that there is a the result we and the AFL have supposedly been awaiting, you would think that a major announcement would be given more attention than an article published during the second mini-match of the NAB Cup.

It’s amazing to think that tanking, a serious issue in the makeup of AFL football, hasn’t been the biggest issue during the off-season. However, with a result on the horizon, you would think that an issue of this magnitude wouldn’t be pushed under the rug in the manner it has been.