The following is a transcript of a statement given by Brisbane Lions Fantasy Football General Manager Edward P. Olsen at a press conference this afternoon, 24 hours after the Lions lost the 2010 AFL Fantasy Draft Grand Final.
It is extremely disappointing to hear the rumours that have been marauding through Fantasy AFL circles today. All of the claims related to the concept that the Brisbane Lions Fantasy Football Club were involved in match-fixing this past weekend are completely false.
We at Brisbane are, of course, extremely disappointed with the weekend’s result. As all of the media pointed out this morning, after going 17-3 during the course of the Fantasy season, we now hold the infamous distinction of being the team with the best record in history to have lost a Grand Final. Now, before I respond more directly to these claims, it is most important that we all stop and congratulate the Western Bulldogs on their 2010 AFLFD Premiership. They came good at the right end of the season, and even though they barely scraped into the finals with a 10-10 record, they were certainly a team who troubled us throughout the course of the year, delivering us 2 of our 3 losses. To have the media rubbishing our performance only takes away from the Bulldogs’ sterling effort, which they should be given due credit for.
Now, to the issue at hand.
Various betting agencies around the country put us in as favourites for this past weekend’s Grand Final due to our performances throughout the season. On average, we scored 40 points per week more than the Bulldogs and just last week we would have defeated them by 653 to 560 had we played them. As such, on paper we appeared to be the deserving favourites for the match. The fact that the result didn’t come close to going as expected is not due to anything other than a very, very poor performance from our players and a spectacularly good performance from the Bulldogs on the most important weekend of the year.
It is disgraceful journalistic practice to turn this horrendous disappointment into a supposed scandal for tabloid fodder. Unethical, unscrupulous and turgid journalists have taken it upon themselves during the past 24 hours to question the morality of the Brisbane Lions Fantasy Football Club. These men appear to take great pleasure in dreaming up such conspiracies, with the betting scandals in rugby league and cricket apparently not enough for them this week. Believe me when I say that any libelous or defamatory commentary will certainly be pursued by the legal team at the Brisbane Lions Fantasy Football Club.
It has come to light that a number of individuals gained a massive windfall thanks to the victory of the Bulldogs on the weekend, along with the Norm Smith Medal winning performance of Bulldog midfielder Travis Boak. However there is absolutely no evidence that any of these gamblers had any connection whatsoever to our football club.
Insinuations that our injured full-forward and self-admitted gambling addict Brendan Fevola had encouraged members of the Lions team to perform poorly on the weekend so that he and they could directly benefit from a Lions’ loss are stories that do not come close to trafficking in fact. As Brendan said on the Fantasy Footy Show only a matter of two weeks ago, he has never and will never bet on Fantasy Football.
Other rumours abounded this morning that Adam Goodes’ beautiful mother was seen walking into a riverside real estate agent, and it was implied that this was directly connected to the fact that she had gained an influx of cash from betting against her son’s team in the Grand Final.
We must ask our fans and the media to understand that Goodes’ poor performance in the Grand Final was purely that: a disappointing performance well below his usual standard. To imply that he is of the same morality of some Pakistani cricketers is simply offensive.
And finally, the suggestion that members of our midfield deliberately permitted Travis Boak to run around and collect over 30 possessions and greatly exceed his average number of fantasy points is ludicrous. Any plunges in Boak’s odds in the Norm Smith betting just prior to the opening bounce are certainly not related to any actions of our players or staff.
We at the Brisbane Lions understand our fans’ frustration at our poor performance in the Grand Final. It doesn’t get any worse than your team scoring one of their lowest totals for the year on the most important weekend of all. However, we guarantee them and the broader Fantasy Football public that our boys tried their guts out this weekend, but for the second year in a row we came up just one win short. We are not in need of a bookmaker, but it appears that we may be in need of some serious fantasy sports psychology over the coming months and into next season.
We share in the utter desolation and disappointment that is being felt by our fans around the country today, and we ask them to retain the faith in our club as we move on towards season 2011. We are a proud Fantasy club and sincerely hope to secure another premiership next year. We also beseech members of the media to permit our fans to grieve in peace, without raising baseless accusations which may cause them to question their faith in our magnificent club and its players.
For now, we must all move forward through this, the most disappointing loss in our club’s history, and start reviewing how such a poor performance came to be.
Congratulations to the Bulldogs once again, and we will see you all again next year.
I won’t be taking questions at this time. Thank you.