Editor’s Note: Edward P. Olsen is a member of a long-running AFL Fantasy Draft. The Draft isn’t the exact equivalent of the ever-popular SuperCoach or DreamTeam competitions which have hit Australia (or at least Victoria) by storm in recent years. Rather, it is an old-school-American-style Fantasy Draft. As such, participants are involved in a yearly draft of available players, just like the real AFL Draft, which ensures that no two participants have the same AFL player on their Fantasy team. Participants also retain 20 of their players on their roster at the end of each season, meaning that each participant’s connection to their long-standing fantasy players can be especially strong. The league is entering its 15th season, and this year’s draft was held on Saturday.
The following is the transcript of the Press Conference held by Brisbane Lions Fantasy Football Club General Manager Edward P. Olsen upon leaving the Draft Room at Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening:
Anthony Hudson, SEN: So, no news on Brendan Fevola?
EPO: No, no. We’ve spoken to a number of clubs about Brendan’s future, but we’re pleased to say that he’s going to continue his career at the Brisbane Lions in 2010.
AH: So no trade to Carlton as was expected?
EPO: We spoke to Carlton both today and, as has been reported, previously this week. But no agreement was reached.
Patrick Smith, The Australian: “Aren’t you just continuing to allow the Fevola-virus to infect your club? Wasn’t the Michael Hurley incident enough to show you that the dominant culture at the club simply has to change?”
EPO: As you know, Michael’s indiscretion has been dealt with by our leadership group. He hasn’t been permitted to take part in pre-season games and will miss the year’s first three premiership matches too. Our Captain Sam Mitchell and Vice-Captain Paul Chapman clearly showed through that decision that they and the club are not going to accept such behavior in our playing group. Clearly, Fantasy Footballers are seen as role-models throughout the community, especially to those kids who hope to be drafted into Fantasy Football clubs in the future. Our Leadership Group understand that and we are confident that Hurley’s suspension will help to ensure that Fevola and others at the club will exhibit behavior which reflects the family-friendly culture we have always enjoyed at the Brisbane Fantasy Football Club.
Mike Sheehan, Herald Sun: “Exactly how close were you to trading him away?”
EPO: Well, I think you guys know the answer to that. You were the ones who published the images of Matthew Priddis and Josh Kennedy walking around our practice facility, commenting on how dumbfounded Priddis was to find himself suddenly on the table in a potential trade for Fevola after being so loyal to his current club. Of course we were close, we were really close, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it – the price just wasn’t quite right.
Craig Hutchison, Channel Nine: What do you think the fans’ reaction will be to Fevola returning this season?
EPO: Look, the important thing about this year is that we feel like we can win the Premiership. After winning in 2008, and being the Minor Premier last year, the loss in last year’s Grand Final really stung. We feel like one got away from us as we ran out of fuel in the tank despite giving our all – 110%, in fact. But our performance in the Premiership Quarter was seriously lacking, and we were unable to put any scoreboard pressure on St.Kilda. All credit to them, of course – they were the better team on the day.
CH: You haven’t really answered the question, though.
EPO: Let’s just say that during the week I’ve been referred to as a “joke” and “disgrace” for thinking of trading Brendan…but I’ve also been referred to as a “moral vacuum” for thinking of retaining him. What the fans have to understand is that this bloke’s played 119 games for the club, was part of our ’08 Premiership and was a Fantasy Draft All-Australian just last season. Off-field indiscretions and moral vacuums aside, for the moment he still has the potential to be a Premiership winning full-forward for us in 2010.
Caroline Wilson, The Age: Have you spoken to Brendan himself since deciding that he’d be returning to Brisbane for another year?
EPO: Yes, we spoke on the phone immediately after the draft.
CW: And what did you say to him?
EPO: Firstly, I suggested that the next time he takes a photo of a girl in the shower, he’s to think of his fantasy football club before he decides to pass it on. Secondly, I asked him to guarantee that he fulfills his responsibilities to the club by ensuring that he continues to respect the rule that he has always followed throughout his career: he’s not to make a dickhead of himself in public during the season. He must wait for Mad Monday or the Brownlow before he goes there.
Gerard Whateley, ABC: Do you feel adequately prepared to cope with any future indiscretion in which Fevola might be involved?
EPO: Of course – our Tall Forward-line is filled with reliable and durable footballers. Those who argue that Adam Goodes is past his best, that Matthew Bate is injured every second week, that Jarrad Waite is one poor landing away from another year-ending knee surgery and that Michael Hurley will spend half the year in jail just don’t have enough faith in our club’s physiotherapists and lawyers. But I do. Heck, our season’s in their hands. And all I can say is bring on Round One.