The tanking debate has reared its ugly head once again.
During the week, an interview with former Melbourne midfielder Brock McLean on Foxtel’s ‘On the Couch’ program revealed he left Melbourne due to ‘experimenting’ in games back in the 2009 season.
McLean is renowned for calling it how he sees it, not holding back and giving direct answers to posed questions. This interview was no different as he clearly stated that in 2009, Melbourne had their eyes on the priority pick.
When asked why he left the Demons at the end of the 2009 season, McLean said that the Demons’ plans “went against everything I was taught as a kid, taught as a footballer and as a person.”
It’s a pretty damning statement that targets the motives of the oldest Australian Rules football club. But sadly, this is the second time that Melbourne’s 2009 season motives have come into question.
Last year in his final press conference after the 186-point belting at the hands of Geelong, fired coach Dean Bailey gave his thoughts on the 2009 season.
“I was asked to do the best thing by the Melbourne Football Club and I did it. I played players in different positions.”
One of the saddest indictments on football is the game late in the 2009 season between the Demons and Richmond.
Dean Bailey elected to play numerous players out of position such as key defender James Frawley in the forward line while also naming three rucks for the clash.
Despite these rather ‘questionable’ decisions, Melbourne still managed to be up when the final siren went by two points. Richmond small utility Jordan McMahon kicked a goal after the siren and gave the Tigers the four points.
The worst sight was seeing the Richmond and Melbourne fans rejoice in unison – for very different reasons. For Richmond, it meant the side was showing glimpses for the future; for Melbourne, they were all but locked in to the precious priority pick which would net them Tom Scully and Jack Trengove.
This isn’t the first case of tanking and it won’t be the last, but it shouldn’t occur at all.
You can’t tell players not to try. Most players refuse to go anything less than 100%, doing everything in their power to win. However, you can position the players so they can’t effectively use their skills to the team’s advantage. This is how tanking works.
I wish there was an effective solution to solve tanking, but for the time being, the removal of the priority pick is the best possible result.