Well, it’s that time of year again. What time you ask? No, not the time when everyone comments how great our season has been thus far. I mean, we only have 13 teams who are a possibility to still make the finals. No, I mean it’s that time of year when we start talking about the dreaded ‘T’ word. ‘Tanking’.
Many people in the football media are using this word. Although I don’t think anyone is incinuating that teams like Carlton and Richmond and their respective match-day team (including coaches) are going out there to lose, there is a stigma that certain clubs who cannot make the finals are doing things in their power to perhaps not have the best possible chance of winning the game on the day.
For instance, playing the kids as opposed to more experienced middle-rung players. The big issue to come out of this weekends set of matches was the fact that Carlton superstar Brendan Fevola came off the field at a critical time in the game, and in that space of time Anthony Rocca started on a rampage of booting 4 goals to set up a Collingwood victory.
Were the Blues tanking? No. Just ask Andrew Carazzo who racked up a game-high 38 posessions. Or Heath Scotland, who played his heart out against his former club. Or Cain Ackland, who gained 5 hard ball gets, an equal game high. Did the 22 Carlton players want to win? YES. Did Brett Ratten, who is coaching for his future? YES. Do people think otherwise? That’s debatable.
Garry Lyon is one media person, among many, who believes that the priority pick rule should go, opting for perhaps a lottery system, in which the top picks are distrubuted to the clubs at random. However, what would happen if at the end of this season for instance, Geelong is awarded pick #1, and Richmond were relegated to pick #16? Fair? Hardly. My argument is simple. Tanking is an issue that will come up for as long as the priority pick is in effect, regardless at this time of the year. However the lottery system is flawed in the sense that it does not take into account the clubs who desperately need the best youth to get back on track.
Until a better solution is floated, the Priority pick system must stay the way it is. It is in the best interests of the clubs who need it most. A better solution may need to be implemented to dispel the inuendo of ‘tanking’, however robbing teams of it who really need it is absolutely unfair.