Harvey urges AFL to solve tanking issue - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harvey urges AFL to solve tanking issue

By Justin Chadwick 17/06/2008 06:09:37 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has urged the AFL to act to remove the "slur" of tanking speculation from the game, saying the rewards of a horror season are too great.

While adamant the Dockers will be out to win every game they play for the rest of the season, Harvey acknowledged the inevitable suspicion that would fall on his club and others out of finals contention as the season continues.

"The AFL has to deal with this," Harvey said.

"Whilst we can all get asked questions about it and it creates the topic of discussion, in the end the AFL has to silence all that.

"So they should speak on behalf of all that.

"I think it's a slur on the game when we talk about that."

The two West Australian clubs in particular are under the spotlight, given their poor first halves of the season and the strength of WA talent on offer at the upcoming national draft.

Fremantle, in 14th spot, and West Coast, in 15th, have both won just two of their first 12 games and WA teenagers, ruckman Nicholas Naitanui and midfielder Daniel Rich, are rated as the two best youngsters available.

The rewards on offer for sinking lower on the ladder over the rest of the season led Harvey to give reporters an unprompted assurance the club would be seeking to win their remaining games.

Asked how many wins he would be aiming for, he replied: "As many as we can - and I've got to state that, if you know what I mean."

The Eagles have also been forced to defend themselves, after leaving out three star players with minor injury concerns in their loss to fellow strugglers Essendon last Friday night.

Premiership midfielders Daniel Kerr (calf), Michael Braun (knee) and Chad Fletcher (back) missed the game.

West Coast assistant coach Peter Sumich has denied the Eagles were tanking.

"That's not part of our culture at this club," Sumich said earlier this week.

"We are going out each week to win.

"I'd hate to think we'd lose the next 10 home and away games."

The benefits of poor performance were exemplified by Carlton, with the Blues' team which downed Collingwood on Sunday containing Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs and Matthew Kreuzer - the No.1 draft picks of the past three years.

Ruckman Kreuzer was the Blues' reward for two successive dismal seasons in 2006 and 2007, earning them a priority pick ahead of the opening round of last year's national draft, despite not finishing on the bottom of the ladder.

Under AFL rules, a club qualifies for an extra pick after round one of the draft, if they win four games or fewer, and a pick before round one should they have two such seasons on the trot.

The Blues lost their final 11 games in 2007 to "earn" that pick, including the final six under coach Brett Ratten, who has since overseen this year's rise into the top eight.

While no club is eligible for a priority pick ahead of the opening round this season, the bottom five - Port Adelaide, Essendon, the WA clubs and Melbourne - remain in contention for an extra pick after the first round.

Harvey said he was not a supporter of the priority pick system.

"I'm not big on rewarding poor seasons," Harvey said.

"It should be an even playing field and I think that's what the AFL's trying to do through salary caps and drafts and things like that.

"But I don't think there should be any exemptions if you finish down the bottom of the ladder, what you then receive as a bonus."

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