Firstly, the alleged facts. Pies defender Heath SHAW gave inside information to his mate that captain Nick MAXWELL would be starting forward, and together they bet $20 on MAXWELL kicking the first goal. At the same time, Nick MAXWELL mentioned around the
The result? Somehow the AFL find out and SHAW now has a 14-week suspension, with 6 weeks of that suspended. (Coincidentally, the 8 weeks takes him right to the start of the Finals. How convenient. Can anyone explain the purpose of the suspended part of this penalty??)
MAXWELL gets away with a fine, with no suspension whatsoever.
Now let me say even though SHAW was in my SC team, he clearly has done the wrong thing and deserved some sanction. 14 weeks seems very harsh, and making it 8 weeks with 6 suspended is just ridiculous. When you consider TRENGROVE got four weeks for a tackle, and SHERMAN got four weeks for racial vilification, it is difficult to understand where the AFL sits with penalties – and eight weeks for SHAW’s misdemeanor seems a little harsh does it not? Particularly when Barry HALL’s absolutely disgraceful behind-the-play snipe on Brent STAKER earned him only a 7 week ban? Before people go on about the SHAW incident affecting the fibre of the game, how is it that there are several players on two strikes for illicit drug use who are running around with no penalty at all, their identity kept well hidden? Why is it that drug users in our game get three chances, whilst gamblers are hung out to dry after one strike? How can the one ruling body seriously argue that those two situations are being handled in a fair and equitable way?
If the major concern of the AFL was that SHAW had passed the info on (in addition to him being a party to the actual betting), then surely MAXWELL deserved some suspension also – after all, his info actually led to more money being bet. The whole thing seems very strange, making me wonder if, once again, we have not been privy to all the details of the entire incident, and never will. I would hate to be the poor cleaner in charge of sweeping all the stuff under the rug at AFL headquarters – man, that would be a busy job.
Throwing further confusion into the mix, it has since been revealed that Tyson GOLDSACK told his Mum he would be starting on the bench and then going forward in last year’s Grand Final. She bet on him and he subsequently came on halfway through the first quarter and ended up kicking the first goal. The AFL has apparently investigated this incident, and deemed it to be okay. What the? Simply bizarre.
The laughable thing about betting and the AFL is that any player could have an online TAB account and go crazy every week on it, and no one seems to care. Too hard basket, that one.
In the end, what we all need to understand is that there is no precedent ever set by the AFL – they change their mind in a flash, completely ignoring one decision when making their mind up on the next. I would’ve thought a month for SHAW would’ve been plenty, and probably in sync with other suspensions handed down in recent times, and maybe one or two matches for MAXWELL. However, I think illicit drug users should be suspended after their first hit and kicked out after their second, so I’m clearly not in line with the AFL’s thinking.
To top it all off, I read in today’s media that Matthew BOYD allegedly had a crack at Brent HARVEY’s injured thumb during the weekend match, but that nothing is being done about it because Nth Melbourne didn’t lodge a complaint. That’s funny AFL – I wonder what Steven BAKER thinks of that? This time last year he was crucified for having a crack at Steve JOHNSON’s allegedly injured hand (which had supposedly been injured in the game they were playing, not prior to) , and now, just 12 months later, the AFL conveniently decides to look the other way at a player doing the same thing to a guy who the whole football world knew had an injured thumb. Huh?
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it…
What do you think about the betting issue in football? And is the AFL's Match Review Panel as bizarre as it seems? Have your say below!