So what the hell was Goodwin doing?

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Bunk Moreland

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Unless the AFL can again short circuit court action, we may find out.

Melbourne Demons crisis: AFL staff and reporters set for court date with Glen Bartlett

Michael Warner

June 28, 2022 - 10:21AM

Football administrators and Supreme Court witness boxes don’t mix.

Twice during the Essendon drugs fiasco, moves to subpoena or cross-examine senior AFL officials (by lawyers for Dr Bruce Reid and Dean “The Weapon” Robinson) resulted in swift out-of-court settlements and the dropping of proceedings like a hot potato.

Footy prefers to resolve its dirtiest integrity disputes in-house, thus avoiding the answering of uncomfortable questions under oath, the filing of damaging affidavits or the discovery of incriminating documents.

The latest AFL imbroglio headed for the courts surrounds the sudden exit of former Melbourne president Glen Bartlett.

In a 2021 season that would see the club go on to win a drought-breaking premiership, Bartlett (lured to take charge of the Dees in 2013 by former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou and his deputy Gillon McLachlan in the wake of the tanking saga) went from being re-elected unopposed in March to “unanimously” deposed by his fellow board members by April.

The reasons behind his murky departure are now at the centre of a defamation action Bartlett has brought against two AFL journalists from The Age and Nine Entertainment, Jake Niall and Caroline Wilson.

And it’s a fair bet several senior Melbourne officials and coaches and at least two AFL supremos will be called to give evidence about the goings on at the club during the tumultuous summer of 2020-21.

Bartlett gave a hint of things to come via an extraordinary press release this month in which he claimed that he had stood down after being thwarted in his fight to keep Melbourne free of “workplace bullying, gambling, harassment and illegal drugs”.

The ex-Demons boss alleged he and his partner had since been subjected to “threats, deceitful conduct and a public campaign to discredit us”.

To those on the outside, they were explosive revelations.

“Did you see the statement that was put out by the former Melbourne president? It is extraordinary,” Adelaide breakfast radio host David Penberthy asked last week.

“Threatening defamation against the entire world, talking about the culture that he was trying to change within the club, talking about how he has had personal threats, talking about how he and his wife have lived in fear - talking about drugs at the club, talking about gambling problems at the club.

“Now, if that was the Adelaide Football Club … the Victorian media would have 300 journos covering it - (but) you can get away with blue murder if you are in the Victorian bubble.”

He’s not wrong.

When details emerged this month of a crisis meeting held last February between McLachlan, AFL commission chairman Richard Goyder, Bartlett and Melbourne vice-president Mohan Jesudason, some media figures seemed more concerned about who had “taped” it than the actual content of the discussion.

But a Queen’s Counsel in a defamation hearing might be more inclined to ask why McLachlan had offered during the meeting to read the riot act to Demons chief executive Gary Pert amid concerns he would “undermine” an investigation into the behaviour of senior coach Simon Goodwin?

Or what McLachlan meant when he said he had told Pert prior to Christmas that this “is the tip of the iceberg”?

Or why he said that if Goodwin was doing something as “obvious and stupid as this … then God knows what else is happening”?


Or why McLachlan had told Pert that it was the “talk of the town”?

What exactly had the AFL boss been hearing that summer and why did it culminate in a meeting between the club and the game’s two most powerful officials?

Goyder told the meeting that if he was the president he would not be waiting any longer to confront Goodwin, describing the matter as “very serious” and “needing serious attention and a rapid response”.

It is unclear what steps, if any, the AFL and its integrity unit took after the meeting.

But Kate Roffey, the board member who replaced Bartlett as Demons president in Round 6 last year, has since declared that she has “no idea” why the AFL was meeting with the club and didn’t even know it had taken place “until I read it in the paper”.

She has previously insisted that Bartlett’s exit was the result of months of “succession planning” - and yet last week, in response to his lengthy statement, it was apparently a “unanimous” decision of the board to ask him to resign - just a month after he had been re-elected by the same directors unopposed.

Melbourne football boss Alan Richardson says the story is “starting to get a little bit laughable”, while Goodwin, who has denied he had any behavioural issues, is urging people to “join the dots and work out where it’s coming from”.
Internal club emails show Bartlett - a workplace lawyer and OH&S specialist - was pushing for the introduction of illicit drug testing for all club leaders on the eve of the 2021 season, a move Pert warned would trigger a mass exodus of staff.

In the end, it was Bartlett and the club’s long-time doctor Zeeshan Arain who were shown the door but plenty of questions are left hanging - and unless another hasty settlement is reached on the Supreme Court steps all involved could soon be asked to pick up a bible and answer them.

A directions hearing is set for July 21.
 

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Toump Ass

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Johnny Karate

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Bartlett is suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome. If Goodwin’s behaviour was actually outrageous, he would’ve been sacked. We’d just come off two s**t seasons, I suspect Bartlett overreached to try and manufacture a crisis that would see Goodwin sacked, the rest of the board saw through it and knifed him for that as well as other issues that were rearing their head during his tenure.

I get that Bartlett’s ego is bruised but his white-anting campaign against the club is extraordinary and I suspect if he didn’t have the team to focus upon that Goodwin would be suing for defamation given the slurs and innuendo that are getting raised about his character. It’s all grist for the mill for Warner, who is clearly Bartlett’s courtier of choice.
 
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Bunk Moreland

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Bartlett is suffering from relevance deprivation syndrome. If Goodwin’s behaviour was actually outrageous, he would’ve been sacked. We’d just come off two s**t seasons, I suspect Bartlett overreached to try and manufacture a crisis that would see Goodwin sacked, the rest of the board saw through it and knifed him for that as well as other issues that were rearing their head during his tenure.

I get that Bartlett’s ego is bruised but his white-anting campaign against the club is extraordinary and I suspect if he didn’t have the team to focus upon that Goodwin would be suing for defamation given the slurs and innuendo that are getting raised about his character. It’s all grist for the mill for Warner, who is clearly Bartlett’s courtier of choice.

As I said… what was Goodwin actually doing?
 

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master bate

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I'd hate to be Mick Warner. He's given the absolute privilege of being able to cover the game and yet he spends most of the time trawling through trash.

Sometimes that's worthwhile, usually when the AFL HQ are up to no good, but instead of uncovering serious issues like the outrage of so much pedophilia in the game like Russ Jackson is covering he spends most of his time being cut price Caro.

I'd even rather be Ralphy or Robbo who at least occasionally interest themselves with things that occur on the field.

Goodwin isn't perfect. That's well documented. But his players don't have a bad word to say about him and the Board decided to turf Bartlett and fully back him.

Warner's level of fixation is really becoming desperate.
 

Jim Prideaux

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““Now, if that was the Adelaide Football Club … the Victorian media would have 300 journos covering it - (but) you can get away with blue murder if you are in the Victorian bubble.”

He’s not wrong.”

Oh Buddy, show me where the mean Melburnian hurt you.
 

Johnny Karate

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““Now, if that was the Adelaide Football Club … the Victorian media would have 300 journos covering it - (but) you can get away with blue murder if you are in the Victorian bubble.”

He’s not wrong.”

Oh Buddy, show me where the mean Melburnian hurt you.
Just goes to show what a s**t piece of writing it is. It’s a shame more journalists aren’t being drip fed a non-story by Bartlett.
Why did his marriage collapse?
I don’t particularly care. Could be because he’s secretly a supervillain or more likely it’s one of the millions of other reasons that 1 in 3 marriages end in splitsville.
 

Demonic Ascent

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I don't know why Bartlett is proceeding with this. The more info that emerges the more of an idiot he looks. What exactly is the "defamation" he was supposedly subjected to? Such a thin skin, get over it mate no one likes you and they love Goody
 
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Mego Red

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““Now, if that was the Adelaide Football Club … the Victorian media would have 300 journos covering it - (but) you can get away with blue murder if you are in the Victorian bubble.”

He’s not wrong.”

Oh Buddy, show me where the mean Melburnian hurt you.
Well, he's obviously correct.

Journos still bring up the Crows camp, even after the story has been discredited and taken down, multiple investigations have shown zero wrong doing, the authors have had to retract their tale, and to this day there's zero evidence anything occured beyond some insensitive use of message sticks.

Different strokes for different folks.
 

Jim Prideaux

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Well, he's obviously correct.

Journos still bring up the Crows camp, even after the story has been discredited and taken down, multiple investigations have shown zero wrong doing, the authors have had to retract their tale, and to this day there's zero evidence anything occured beyond some insensitive use of message sticks.

Different strokes for different folks.
I mean, none of what you just wrote is true, but it’s a cool story.
 

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