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Spotlight on Connolly as 'tank' verdict looms

Damian Barrett  December 19, 2012 6:51 PM

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Melbourne's former football manager Chris Connolly

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THE AFL has all but finalised its five-month investigation into alleged match tanking at Melbourne, with the club to be provided with all findings before the Christmas break.

The probe, into practices employed during Dean Bailey’s tenure as coach, is believed to have found adversely against former football manager Chris Connolly.

Demons unruffled by tank talk

No official sanctions have been determined, as that will be a matter for the AFL commission.

The Demons will be given at least three weeks to review and respond to the AFL findings, and while Melbourne chief executive Cameron Schwab could not be contacted at the time of publication, it is known the club has, on several occasions, made the AFL aware it would vigorously fight any seriously adverse charges against it.

Depending on the degree of sanctions, Supreme Court action is a possibility.

With the head of the AFL football operations department, Adrian Anderson, to officially sever ties with the organisation this week, the Melbourne probe was recently hastened.

Certain Demons officials were told recently by the AFL to revisit responses provided in earlier interviews.

AFL.com.au believes the investigating officers have been applying massive pressure on some witnesses to make admissions on certain incidents, or potentially face heavy sanctions.

Anderson could not be contacted, however the AFL released a statement - following the publication of this article - confirming the investigation was at a point where all "relevant parties" would be contacted this week, shown the evidence gathered from the investigation, and given an "opportunity to comment".

"It is expected that a final decision regarding whether any charges under AFL Rules are warranted will be made in late January, 2013," the statement said.