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It looked, walked and quacked like tanking: why the AFL spared the Demons from tanking charge

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There's little doubt that, within the Melbourne Football Club in 2009, some key figures did not want the Demons to win too many games and that the players consequently became unwilling pawns in a misguided game that was all about procuring an extra early draft pick.

This was obvious to many inside the game even during 2009. When Richmond beat the Demons on a goal after the siren from Jordan McMahon late that season, Tiger people in the rooms were astonished at some of the unorthodox positional moves that had been pulled - the most celebrated of which was the placement of a lumbering ruckman Paul Johnson in defence on nimble Nathan Brown.

Everyone could see what was going on.

The AFL ultimately suspended Melbourne's two most senior football officials, the late Dean Bailey (16 weeks) and Chris Connolly (12 months) for their part in the 2009 manipulations, while fining the club $500,000 in a February 2013 settlement negotiated by current AFL boss Gillon........

© The Age