Bailout for Melbourne not the answer

With all the crisis talks and the current plight of the Melbourne footy club, there has been fresh headlines recently surface about the possibility of the AFL granting Melbourne a priority pick at season’s end.

I really hope this doesn’t eventuate, and I’d almost go as far as saying the Dees’ don’t have the right to a priority pick. There is no doubting the club is a shambles at the moment and needs to do some serious work to pick itself up off the canvas, but lets just step back and take a look for a moment.

Since 2006, Melbourne have had access to 12 top 20 draft picks, including priority picks given to them, as well as 3 picks between 20-30 and pick 2 in last year’s 17 year old mini draft. These picks have netted them Frawley, Morton, Grimes, Maaric, Watts, Blease, Strauss, Scully, Trengove, Gysberts, Tapscott, Cook, Toumpas, Viney and Hogan. Of these, 5 (Morton, Maaric, Scully, Gysberts and Cook) are no longer on their list, but that still leaves them with more top 20 picks than not. Then take a look at the players who are still on their list who were taken at pick 30 or above since 06; Garland, Spencer, Jetta, Bail, McKenzie, Gawn, Fitzpatrick, Howe, Mcdonald, Evans, Nicholson, Couch, Magner, Sellar, Tynan, Taggert, Kent, Jones, Terlich, Stark and Clisby. So yes Melbourne may have departed with some of their picks, but they’ve also kept a lot of them which means the coaches have seen something in them, and you can’t tell me all these players are useless with no talent. I’ve seen myself from watching that some already are Good AFL players, or have the potential to be, and especially some of the younger of that group have the potential to have long, successful careers.

Melbourne are going through a hell of a time (pun intended), but why should they be getting a priority pick anymore than other struggling non-expansion teams St. Kilda, the Bulldogs, Brisbane, or for that matter, any team which has struggled in recent times or will struggle at times in the future. The problem at Melbourne, along with some shonky recruiting (although it hasn’t all been bad), is that they’ve stuffed up with decisions made in the areas of their football department, at board and management level, at a corporate level, with coaching, all directly affecting the whole culture at the club, which is certainly not conducive to an environment where success can be built on or off the field.

Now they’re paying the price for it and doing it tough, and they have to rebuild and transform themselves into a successful club, all part of the challenge of being in the AFL, not unlike those faced by some other clubs in recent years, some of which are now the powerhouses of the competition.

The AFL have already got the draft and salary cap in place as equalisation measures, while I’ve already mentioned the fact the Dees have already been given priority picks in previous years already. And the AFL has already announced that they will be financially helping the Demons in their ‘rebuild and restructure’ of the club after a proposal put forward by the footy club. So it’s not like struggling clubs aren’t provided with extra support to that of other clubs anyway. If the AFL are just going to provide handouts or a bailout for any club which struggles, largely through its own poor decisions, to boost them up and make them successful, then we might as well just set every club a time period where they’ll be at the top of the ladder, in the middle rungs and at the bottom. But then we’d just have a boring, robotic, cyclic competition which is so predictable it becomes stale. And we wouldn’t get to see the beauty of clubs such as Sydney and Geelong, who through making good decisions on and off field, have managed to stay at or near the top, meeting the challenges that come and sustaining success.

To the AFL, every club struggles, some more than others at times and some for longer than others, but that’s just part and parcel of our game and what makes it a competition between 18 clubs. Melbourne, you got yourself into the position you’re in on the back of your own bad decisions and you’re not the only club who’s ever been in a position similiar, or even worse, than the one you currently find yourselves in. You’ve got a great challenge, one you should look to tackle head on with enthusiasm and optimism, and one which I look forward to seeing the club as a whole respond to. But a bailout from the AFL is not the answer.


  1. The Wrap says

    Giving Melbourne a priority draft pick would be like replaying the siege of Glen Rowan with paint guns. They’ve had their chance. They tanked for at least one of their priority draft picks. If The Great Manipulator wants to give them a priority draftee let him rip Scully back from GWS. The People of Brazil have had enough, so have the Turks. If it means taking to the streets and picketing Jellymont House, count me in. And if we’re burning effigies of that arrogant twerp running the AFL agenda I’ve got a few old tyres and a 4-gallon drum of sump oil to throw on the bonfire.

    of bullets.

  2. Neil Belford says

    Cant see why the AFL shouldn’t give them a priority pick. They have already paid back with interest the money they so laughably ‘fined’ them for not quite tanking.

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