BROTHERS Daniel and Michael Talia have denied sharing sensitive game-related information prior to the Adelaide-Western Bulldogs elimination final.
The Bulldogs announced on Tuesday night that they had asked the AFL's integrity unit to investigate the leaking of "game-sensitive information" ahead of their seven-point loss to Adelaide at the MCG.
It subsequently emerged that Bulldogs defender Michael Talia and elder brother and Crows defender Daniel would be at the centre of the investigation.
However, the AFL Players' Association released a statement on Wednesday, saying the Talias had engaged in nothing more than a "general conversation about football" ahead of the elimination final.
“We are aware of the alleged sharing of sensitive club information and have spoken to all parties, including officials and players at the two clubs," AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said.
"The players involved have informed us that they categorically deny the sharing of any sensitive club information.
"From the perspective of the players, this is nothing more than two brothers having a general conversation about football as they do every other week.
"We believe we have done our due diligence on the issue and respect the right of the Western Bulldogs to investigate the matter and understand that as part of this process they have felt it important to inform the AFL."
Crows midfielder Rory Sloane said the AFLPA's finding spelt the end of the matter from the club's perspective.
"It never really began for us, unfortunately we were just caught in the cross hairs a bit," Sloane said.
The Bulldogs said on Tuesday night that they became aware more than a week ago of the "inappropriate transmission" of internal match planning and conducted their own investigation.
Adelaide has insisted it did not use the sensitive information to its advantage in the seven-point win.
"The Western Bulldogs became aware on Monday 14 September of allegations of the inappropriate transmission of game-sensitive information from the Western Bulldogs to the Adelaide Crows prior to the final on 12 September," Bulldogs CEO David Stevenson said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
Michael and Daniel Talia chat after the Bulldogs' round four win this year. Picture: AFL Media
"The club conducted such interviews and enquiries as we considered appropriate last week and as a result of those enquiries, the club has today referred the matter to the AFL for consideration by its integrity unit.
"While we do not believe this matter had a material bearing on the game or the result, we believe it is appropriate to report these matters relating to integrity to the AFL for investigation."
Adelaide coach Scott Camporeale was asked on radio in the week following if he had received sensitive information from within the Bulldogs.
The coach said he did not, and Crows CEO Andrew Fagan said any leak did not have an impact on the coaching group's strategies.
"We are aware of an internal investigation undertaken by the Western Bulldogs regarding the transmission of some limited game-sensitive information in the lead up to our recent final," Fagan said in a statement.
"Our club strongly refutes any suggestion of wrongdoing.
"At no stage did our coaches meet to discuss any information received from an external source, nor did it alter our team selection, strategies or game plan."
Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy said the allegation was worrying.
"Without the facts everyone has to tread really carefully," he told Fox Footy.
"Football clubs are family … it's such a close knit brethren and feeling among people, I'd hate to think that was broken.
"It's hard to know what sort of information, how much it was and what kind of context … it was a pretty tight game."
Michael Talia did not play in the elimination final, but Daniel played a key role for the Crows, manning mercurial Bulldogs forward Jake Stringer.