But Small Fees for Directors
Hello fans: Some web links: AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was paid $560,000 in his first full year at the helm of the country's biggest sporting competition, slightly less than the reported package of $600,000 on his appointment in 2003. Former Roo charged with defrauding university New AFL video game out September 8 Demetriou's 180-degree turn of thought on Swans Cloke stalking claim McLeod thought of early retirement Taggers filmed Clubs confused at finals venues Ratings vindicate Pies-Blues match snub Player agent in strife for giving away Big Brother tickets Asian coverage under threat Saints to complete financial turnaround Bombers seek Gold Coast pre-season match Saints, Swans furious over accountants report on clubs Qantas launch indigenous AFL camp Sam Newman controversy 1 Sam Newman controversy 2 Blues trio caught in underworld bashing In Brief General Silliness That's all for now. See you soon. Regards, Johnson Leung
An article on the latest technology used by a number of AFL clubs can be found here:
An in-depth interview with AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou can be found here:
Details of Demetriou's pay were disclosed in notes to the AFL's 2004 financial accounts lodged with financial regulators last month.
While the National Rugby League and National Basketball League have not disclosed directors' salaries, Demetriou's pay compares favourably with his Australian Rugby Union counterpart Gary Flowers, who earned about $310,000 in calendar 2004.
The AFL accounts also reveal that former chief executive Wayne Jackson walked away with at least $800,000 in 2003.
Also buried in the notes is a disclosure stating the AFL paid $663,575 to Spotless Group, a company in which league chairman Ron Evans is a shareholder and director.
The AFL directors stated in the accounts that the payments were made to Spotless for providing catering services at several venues, and all dealings with Spotless were in the ordinary course of business and on normal commercial terms and conditions.
While AFL directors are among the highest-profile business people in the country, their average annual fees are only about $20,000, seemingly in line with most stock exchange listed companies that generate annual revenue of $200 million.
Non-executive directors at similar-sized companies receive fees of up to $40,000.
At Cricket Australia, not all directors are paid, but those who are receive up to $20,000.
The AFL passed the $200 million revenue milestone for the first time in the 12 months to October 2004, but its net earnings dipped to $3.36 million from $4.95 million in 2003.
The recent growth of the AFL in terms of revenue has established it as a top-500 company in Australia.
But unlike most corporates, its net profit is exempt from tax, because much of its revenue is distributed to the 16 AFL clubs and state football associations in the form of grants.
Partly as a result of this relief from a nominal company tax rate of 30 per cent, the AFL balance sheet is very healthy, boasting accumulated profits of more than $45 million.
Speculation that the AFL may seek a share market listing by 2010 continues to simmer, despite comments by Demetriou that the board would not embrace such a proposal.
Former VFL star David Dench has been charged over his alleged role in defrauding Victoria University of more than $30 million.
Dench faces 608 charges of conspiracy to defraud, theft, obtaining property by deception and furnishing false information.
Police allege the dual North Melbourne premiership player and Hall of Fame inductee helped bring in more than $4.7 million to the conspiracy by invoicing the university through his maintenance company for work that was not done.
He appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court with four co-accused, who face charges including conspiracy to cheat and defraud, aiding and abetting secret commissions, furnishing false information and money laundering.
Dench, 53, of Essendon, was made to surrender his passport, as was Michael Smith, 59, of Corlette in New South Wales, whose 746 charges involve frauds totalling about $9.5 million.
Harvey, 46, owner of award-winning South Yarra restaurant Harvey's, faces 13 charges of conspiracy to defraud over allegedly preparing false invoices for meals and wine to the value of $12,700 that was then claimed by others against the university and the tax office.
Dean House, 51, of South Oakleigh, and travel agent Michael Gallenti, 46, also faced the court on similar charges to the other three.
Four out of the five were ordered to hand in their passports, but Harvey was excused because she had an overseas skiing holiday planned.
The five were released on bail by Magistrate Maurive Gurvich to appear at a committal hearing on November 17.
20 people have been charged, including race horse owner John Cappellin.
Police allege the offences happened from 1996-2001, during when numerous university executives conspired with contractors to defraud the institution and contractors falsely invoicing the university for consulting services, travel and meals, in return for winning tenders.
Dench's defence lawyer Paul Duggan said outside court his client would defend the charges.
AFL fans can now play alongside some of the biggest names in the AFL thanks to a new Playstation 2 game that was launched last week by league chief executive Andrew Demetriou.
AFL Premiership 2005 features the latest technology called EyeToy which enables fans to add their own digital image into the game so that they can kick and handpass to all of their AFL heroes.
The game, Sony Computer Entertainment Australia's first foray into game development in the country, is available from September 8, follows on from SCE becoming one of the league's corporate partners earlier this year.
Demetriou said SCE and IR Gurus (both AFL partners) had joined together to develop and publish "by far and away the best AFL game to date" and which was more realistic than ever before. The game developers worked worked closely with current and ex-players, coaches and umpires to ensure that players of the game experience as close as possible to the real thing.
AFL Premiership 2005 is designed for AFL fans of all ages, whether it is people looking to extend their knowledge of the game and the rules, people wanting to compete against their mates, or other fans who like their game statistics and are more concerned with strategy and tactics - all fans are covered.
Other new features in the game have made it more realistic than ever before. Key developments include:
*The introduction of Heritage round jumpers
*Player trading and the National Draft
*A Tribunal where players can be suspended
*The ability to play on-line with up to four friends.
The AFL Record also celebrated the new game by featuring computer-generated player images on the front cover of the Round 21 issue.
The image, created exclusively for the AFL Record by PlayStation, features 12 players from those teams still in contention for the 2005 premiership, soaring for the cup with the Eagles and Adelaide closest to the prize. Those teams already out of the competition – Essendon, Collingwood, Hawthorn and Carlton, can be seen in the shadows in the background.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou created a minor frenzy three months ago when he lamented the Swans' "ugly" playing style and said they would not win matches playing the way they did, but now he had change of heart and heaped praise on the club after its recent winning form.
Before Sydney's crucial clash with the Brisbane Lions, Demetriou said the high-flying Swans' recent performances were fantastic for the growth of the game in NSW.
While Demetriou stopped short of proclaiming himself a fan of Sydney's working-class style, he said the Swans, who are now in third place with 14 wins and seven losses, had a good chance of clinching their first premiership, as history has shown teams that come in the top four and get two cracks at it have a strong chance to win.
Before their round-six match against West Coast, when Sydney had lost two on the trot, Demetriou said: "It would be fair to say in the early part of the season we saw some games that weren't attractive, and I think they've been described as ugly. And probably there would a brand of football being played on the other side of the border which is not particularly attractive . . .
"Unless there's a change in the manner and the style in which they play, they will lose more games than they win."
Demetriou backed away from the furore created by his comments, but the AFL could have been privately delighted that his statements drew such a strong response in a state in which league and rugby usually dominate the headlines.
The Swans finished fourth after the regular reason in 2003. They produced a shock win over minor premiers Port Adelaide in their qualifying final before losing to eventual premiers Brisbane in the preliminary final.
Collingwood's Cloke family is living in fear of a man they claim is bombarding them with terrifying phone calls, death threats and demands for cash.
The family claimed disgruntled former tenant and accused stalker Peter Mulvahill threatened footy legend David Cloke, wife Julie and their Pie-playing sons Jason, Cameron and Travis, saying they are "going to go down on the football field".
They say Mulvahill, 36, trashed the Clokes' Ringwood East rental apartment -- where he lived until March -- then set about destroying their lives.
In recent months they say he has made dozens of abusive telephone calls, threatened to kill them and driven past their family home after dark.
The family took out interim intervention orders against Mulvahill earlier this month barring him from coming within 500m of them.
Cloke Sr, 50, claimed in the interim intervention order document that Mulvahill appeared to be mentally unbalanced and his constant harassment of the Cloke family was having a huge impact on their lives.
Wife Julie Cloke said after the hearing that the family was petrified and they jumped when the phone rang. She said the harassment had also terrified her two daughters -- leaving youngest, 11-year-old Teigan, in tears after an altercation at the property.
But Mulvahill says he and his family are the victims and accuses David Cloke of intimidating his mother at a recent pre-court meeting to settle the rental dispute.
Mulvahill, who says he is a born-again Christian, denied he threatened the Clokes or damaged their rental property. He said they had failed to maintain the property and he had been threatened by David Cloke by phone.
The dispute, which were resolved at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, dates back to February 2004 when Mulvahill moved into a one-bedroom Lena Grove apartment owned by David, Julie and Jason.
The Clokes claim Mulvahill failed to give them 28 days notice before moving out in March and refused them access to show prospective tenants through the flat.
Tribunal member Roland Price ruled against Mulvahill and ordered that he pay the Clokes $405 -- three weeks rent -- and repair two doors at the property. Mulvahill forfeited all but $150 of his bond. Mr Price advised the parties "go their separate ways" and not initiate any fresh litigation.
Outside the tribunal, Mulvahill said he was disappointed with the ruling but hoped to get on with his life.
Adelaide Crows star Andrew McLeod was convinced he would walk away from his AFL career during an off-season separation from his family.
McLeod, who has returned to the form that brought him two Norm Smith medals in the Crows' back-to-back 1997 and '98 premierships, has told ALPHA magazine (published by News Limited) he was going to retire as he had lost his love for the game.
He left wife Rachael and their two children late last year and moved in with tennis star Lleyton Hewitt.
In his most revealing interview since, McLeod said:
HIS decision to turn his back on his life and move in with Hewitt came after watching a Michael Jordan video, in which the basketball great spoke about losing his love for basketball and turning his hand to baseball;
A CLOSE bond with newly appointed Crows coach Neil Craig and the club's restructuring were crucial in saving his playing career;
HE IS still best of friends with Hewitt, despite not attending his wedding of actress Rebecca Cartwright in Sydney last month;
HE WOULD have begun his career in Fremantle, but felt insulted during a meeting with then-coach Gerard Neesham;
HE DID not have a rift with former Crows coach Gary Ayres, but found him hard to talk to about his off-field problems last season.
Fitzpatrick persuaded to run for federal seat
A plan to recruit former Carlton great and multi-millionaire Mike Fitzpatrick to run for a safe Labor Party seat at the next federal election is meeting stiff opposition from party heavyweights.
The former Blues skipper and Rhodes scholar is being trumpeted for the northern Melbourne seat of Scullin, held by Harry Jenkins since 1986.
If he agrees to run, Fitzpatrick would join a squad of Centre Unity-backed candidates who are likely to challenge up to five sitting MPs. Other potential candidates include union leaders Bill Shorten in Maribyrnong and Richard Marles in Corio.
The AFL commissioner, who played 150 games for the Blues, is believed to have the strong backing of Labor numbers man Senator Stephen Conroy, who has been behind several attempts to install high-profile candidates in state and federal parliaments.
Fitzpatrick is a highly successful businessman whose Labor connections go back to his days as a bureaucrat for the Victorian State Government under John Cain during the 1980s.
But other Centre Unity heavyweights believe Labor lawyer Mark Dreyfus would make a better candidate for Scullin should it come up for grabs.
In a bid to outlaw illegal tagging tactics, the AFL has started filming taggers and their victims for an entire game.
The AFL-directed iso-cameras have filmed three taggers in an effort to help umpires police infringements at stoppages. Results so far have shown taggers to be working within the rules
But the AFL umpires department plans to cover all of the known taggers in every team.
Umpires boss Jeff Gieschen has confirmed the "iso-cameras" had been used three times and will continued to be used because they gave invaluable insight into how tagging players played their opponents.
The breakdown will be shown to umpires to help in education, observation and communication.
Known taggers include St Kilda's Steven Baker, Andrew Thompson and Stephen Powell, Collingwood's Brodie Holland, Essendon's Damian Peverill, West Coast's Tyson Stenglein, Sydney pair Brett Kirk and Jared Crouch and Kangaroo Brady Rawlings.
Gieschen acknowledged that improved policing at stoppages was required because umpires at times had missed infringements on players playing at close range at the stoppages with as many as 30 players around the stoppage.
Clubs remain confused by venues for the first week of the finals series, as Telstra Dome management wants to host a final this year.
Under agreement when the stadium was completed early in 2000, if two finals matches are scheduled in Melbourne in the first week of the series, one would be played at the MCG and the other at Telstra Dome. Melbourne Stadiums Ltd, which runs Telstra Dome, has an agreement with the AFL to keep its ground vacant for AFL use in the first week of the finals.
That could be a headache for the league as it cannot always guarantee that non-Victorian clubs who earn home finals in the first two weeks won't be forced to play them in Melbourne.
Telstra Dome forfeited its finals-right clause in 2003 in exchange for extra home-and-away games the following season and gave the AFL great flexibility in allowing two potential games at the MCG in the first week of the finals, making it much easier for the AFL to fulfil its banking conditions (negotiated with the Melbourne Cricket Club) the following year.
Under the new AFL-MCC preliminary final contract, the banking system has been extended to 10 finals being played at the MCG in the first two weeks over the next five years.
Telstra Dome general manager of commercial operations Michael Green said the stadium had not waived its contractual right to host finals this year as it was negotiated on an annual basis, however the ball is on the AFL's court.
Assuming West Coast and Adelaide finish first and second on the ladder and play home finals in the first week, for Telsta Dome to have a final, Victorian clubs must qualify by finishing the season in fifth and sixth spots.
Telstra Dome hosted finals in its first three years, between Hawthorn-Geelong, Hawthorn-Sydney and in 2002, Essendon-West Coast, but none since.
*The AFL has announced this year's grand final pre-game entertainment will feature Melbourne-born international comedian Barry Humphries in his Dame Edna Everage guise and Canadian singer Michael Buble.
*West Coast appears certain to launch its premiership assault with a home qualifying final on Saturday, September 3.
The AFL will not settle venues and times for the first week of the finals until next Sunday, but the Eagles can expect a Subiaco fixture.
It will be the first time in nine years the Eagles have played a final in Perth.
Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett expressed a preference for a Saturday game, having conferred with coach John Worsfold and the club's football department. He said a Saturday final made sense given the WAFL finals had been scheduled for Sunday, September 4.
The Eagles' only Sunday game at Subiaco this year was the Round 10 mauling of reigning premier Port Adelaide.
Channel Ten is satisfied with its decision to snub Carlton and Collingwood and show the Round 20 Adelaide Showdown, after notching strong audience figures across the country.
Adelaide's seven-point win over Port Adelaide was Adelaide's highest-rating program for the year, peaking at 38 during the tense final term and attracting an average audience of 282,000.
In Melbourne, an average 284,000 people tuned in to the match while the Blues were toppling the Magpies at the MCG. The average national audience was 812,000.
The last time Collingwood and Carlton played, in round three, the national audience was 725,000, and the Melbourne audience 290,000.
Channel Ten's executive producer of football, David Barham, said it was a hard decision to make the choice six weeks in advance, but the strong figures had left the network content with its decision to show Melbourne viewers the clash of the two finals contenders. Barham said the Showdown was a great game and he thought people appreciated being able to see it on free-to-air TV.
In response to comments by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and Carlton president Ian Collins that the match should be televised free-to-air rather than on Fox Footy, Barham said the Pies' past two Friday night games — against St Kilda and Essendon — had been the lowest and fifth-lowest rating Friday night games this year. (They were shown against the first two cricket tests between traditional rivals England and Australia on SBS.)
Speaking at a Collingwood-Carlton breakfast for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, McGuire said the stakeholders in AFL football had to realise how important Melbourne-based clubs were to the league.
McGuire said Ten's controversial decision to snub the MCG match was an affront to Victorian football followers, not just fans of the competing teams. He said regardless of ladder positions, Ten should not have contributed to the erosion of the "branding of football in this town".
McGuire said Ten's decision had the potential to send the wrong message about Victorian football and he worried that Pies-Blues match, which attracted the biggest crowd at the MCG last year, would start to get smaller crowds in the future.
The AFL Players Association has started investigating allegations that player agent Max Stevens provided tickets to reality TV show Big Brother to prospective No. 1 draft pick Bryce Gibbs and his family.
If true, and Bryce's father Ross confirmed the tickets came from SA-based Stevens, then Stevens could be banned as a player manager.
Stevens' alleged misdemeanour comes under inducement regulations being reviewed by the AFLPA.
Gibbs, 16, plays for Glenelg seniors in the SANFL and is considered a monty to be No. 1 in next year's AFL draft. He is also the centre of a wrangle between the Crows and the AFL over father-son qualification.
Gibbs was in Queensland playing in the national under-16 championships and Stevens was at the tournament representing his employer, Elite Sports Properties, one of the major player management firms and owned by former Collingwood player Craig Kelly.
Ross Gibbs said Stevens got Big Brother tickets from Channel Ten but denied that Stevens had also paid for the Gibbs' accommodation. He said his wife and two daughters were mad Big Brother fan and they said the best part of the family's two-weel trip in Brisbane was going to Big Brother on Gold Coast's Dreamworld amusement park.
AFLPA chief executive Brendon Gale said anything of value, cash, goods or services, given to a player to sign a management agreement or in anticipation of signing an agreement, would be regarded as inducement and inducements were prohibited under AFLPA regulations and sanctions would reply.
Stevens could be asked to front the Agents Accreditation Board which comprises, among others, AFLPA player welfare boss Matthew Finnis and player managers Liam Pickering and Dan Richardson, who is also employed by ESP.
Gale and his body have been informed of "ridiculous inducements" to young players. Common offers include players and their families staying in hotels, receiving products, having restaurant bills paid for them and receiving tickets to be in the audience of TV shows.
Up to six managers have spoken to Bryce Gibbs, with his father present, but a decision about whom he will join won't be made until the end of season.
Coverage of AFL matches into Asia and SW Pacific from next year onwards is now under threat following a decision by the Federal Cabinet to put up a tender for the Government-funded satellite TV service into the region.
At stake is a $18.5 million grant from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The free-to-air service has been operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation under the ABC Asia Pacific brand since the final days of 2001.
ABC Asia Pacific is currently available in nearly 9 million homes in more than 39 countries across the region and in more than 200,000 hotel rooms. It draws on the vast inventory of programming available from both the ABC and Australian commercial television networks and independent production houses from around the world.
Since the current AFL rights began in 2002 ABC Asia Pacific has been showing five matches per week (six on holiday long weekends in Australia and eight on split round), plus all the finals live. It also has "freedom of choice" on Saturday and Sunday matches.
The tender could open the way for Rupert Murdoch's Sky News and Fox to set up an additional news channel besides the Star TV subscription service, majority owned by Murdoch's News Corporation. If Murdoch succeeds, it is possible that AFL will be deleted from the new channel's program schedule.
AFL matches have been beamed into Asia since ABC Asia Pacific's predecessor Australia Television (ATVI) began transmission in 1993. Coverage continued even after ATVI was sold to Channel Seven in 1997 and closed in 2001. (AFL briefly surfaced on ESPN Star Sports in 2002-2003.)
St Kilda could complete a stunning financial turnaround by wiping out a $2.3 million debt by the end of next season.
The Saints, booming on and off the ground, are on track to post a profit of $1.1 million this year.
If, as expected, they at least match that effort in 2006, the once struggling club will boast close to a clean slate.
St Kilda president Rod Butterss said up to 80% of the club's profit could go into paying out its debt this year, with the rest to be paid off next year.
The Saints announced a profit of $1.03 million last year and have been further boosted by a 2000 jump in membership. Butterss said some of the gains in membership made have been cancelled out by an increase in player payments, now at salary cap level.
Butterss said the club aimed to remain at the lower end of spending in the competition, both in administration and football department costs.
Essendon wants to play a key role in the rebirth of Carrara as an AFL venue, requesting involvement in the pre-season cup opener at the Gold Coast stadium next season.
The Bombers are expected to play the Brisbane Lions in the late February match, which may draw a capacity crowd of 25,000.
The NAB Cup match will be the first of four games scheduled for the Gold Coast venue. The others are a practice match for NAB Cup losers, and two home-and-away matches, one with the Lions as the away team.
Essendon CEO Peter Jackson said his club proposed the match due to the strong 16,000 attendance for a practice match it played against the Lions at the venue this year.
Jackson said the Bombers had no interest in playing in the home-and-away matches, to be scheduled early in the 2006 season to help fill the void created by the MCG's unavailability because of the Commonwealth Games.
Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne are being considered for "home" status in the Carrara matches.
Jackson said the region was crucial for Australian football but whether it could have regular AFL matches remained to be seen.
St Kilda and Sydney are furious over remarks in a financial report, since withdrawn, claiming they were in major financial trouble.
Saints president Rod Butterss called the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) "monkeys" after its nationwide report said there was significant uncertainty the two clubs could stay afloat. The Saints made a $1 million profit last season and the Swans $900,000.
The institute went into damage control hours after the report was released on July 5, wiping the findings from its website and apologising in a statement, which stated the two clubs received a note in the audit opinion regarding their ongoing viability, rather than qualified audit opinions due to significant uncertainty for their future, as quoted by the report.
The institute's annual AFL report, which studied the AFL clubs' business practices through a survey that 15 of the 16 clubs completed for this year's edition, originally questioned whether the Saints and the Swans would be able to pay their debts.
Butterss said the Saints were disappointed that such a highly regarded organisation could create an inaccurate and very amateurish report.
Qantas Chairman Margaret Jackson has launched the Qantas AFL Kickstart Camp for young Indigenous sportsmen.
Speaking at the announcement of the Qantas Australian Football Indigenous Team of the Century at Melbourne's Crown Casino, Jackson said the airline was delighted to be able to help young Indigenous players take a step towards a future AFL career through the AFL Kickstart Camp.
"This very special camp offers a unique opportunity for talent scouts from AFL Clubs to see what these young people, who are selected for the camp based on their talent and potential to play AFL at a senior representative level, can do."
"Forty eight promising young people, representing all States and Territories of Australia will attend the AFL Kickstart Camp later this month. The Northern Territory has the highest representation with 12 players, followed by Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia with eight each," she said.
Jackson said the camp was an extension of the airline's existing sponsorship of the AFL Kickstart program.
AFL Kickstart, which started in 1997, is a development program aimed not only at identifying talented Indigenous players, but also at promoting lifestyle messages based on three core principles: participation, leadership and life skills.
Jackson said AFL Kickstart was an important feature of the airline's program of Indigenous AFL sponsorships, which included:
*the Qantas Australian Football Indigenous Team of the Century;
*the Qantas AFL Indigenous All-Stars Game, which will next be played in 2007; and
*the Qantas AFLPA Marn Grook Award, which is presented to the most outstanding emerging Indigenous player to debut within the previous three years.
Jackson said Qantas was proud to recognise the contribution of Indigenous AFL players through its sponsorship of the Team of the Century, and in doing so, encourage younger Indigenous players to strive to overcome adversity and achieve their goals.
Football identity John "Sam" Newman is at the centre of a police probe into claims he was defrauded of more than $100,000.
Police are investigating allegations that one of his ex-girlfriends was behind the fraud. The woman has been accused of changing the zeroes on his cheques, to which she allegedly had access.
The missing money was reported to police after Newman noticed his dwindling bank balance.
Detectives from the Brighton CIU received the complaint several months ago and the investigation is ongoing.
Newman said incident happened over a year ago and had been settled with him by the bank. He said he had not seen the woman for some time but was upset by any suggestion he was still in a relationship with her, putting his morals and ethics in question.
Newman has had a bad run of luck with women. In April, he made a citizen's arrest of 37-year-old Tatyana Micunovic who was accused of smashing a window at his Brighton mansion. The woman claimed she had no idea who Newman was and insisted two associates were responsible.
In 2000, the image of Pamela Anderson on the plastic facade cloaking his Middle Park home outraged residents, but he ultimately won council support to retain the picture.
In 1997, Newman suffered a broken nose when the ex-boyfriend of his female house guest crashed a van through the gates of his home and assaulted him.
Three months later, his then girlfriend ran him over, breaking his leg in two places.
It is not the first time he has called in police. In 2001, he made a formal complaint about a road rage incident in which his $450,000 Lamborghini Diablo was smashed, causing about $12,000 in damage.
Sam Newman has been chastised by AFL umpires boss Jeff Gieschen over on-air alleged racial remarks about a goal umpire.
The controversial broadcaster was seen at an AFL House meeting with Gieschen and two umpires for about two hours.
It is believed that Gieschen took issue with some of Newman's comments on Triple M during the Richmond-Sydney game in Round 14. The comments centred on goal umpire Jason Venkataya, who allegedly complained Newman's comments were racist. Newman dubbed him "Eatacat" during the match.
Newman's dressing down follows an apology by 3AW's Rex Hunt to Magpie Leon Davis for a comment Hunt unintentionally broadcast.
A Newman confidante said he was "simply being Sam" and had intended no harm or malice to Venkataya, who was born in Fiji but is of Sri Lankan origin.
Newman was suspended by station management earlier in the year for what was perceived to be overly negative comments about the way AFL football is being played.
Newman was surprised his movements had been uncovered and said he was not in a position to discuss the meeting.
There also appears to be confusion over Newman's companion when he visited AFL House for the meeting. Triple M football executive director Lee Simon was said to have accompanied Newman to AFL House, but Simon denied any knowledge of the meeting or any issue with umpires.
*Newman is no stranger to the world of art - he purchased Jeffrey Smart's piece "The Guiding Spheres" several years ago at auction.
"If you can't have culture and class, you can at least buy it," he laughs.
He didn't know how high he should have been bidding, but admits his competitive streak got the best of him.
"I thought f... him, I'm not going to let him have it," Newman laughs of his then phone bidder-opponent for the piece of artwork.
But it seems a search for class and culture can also be a sound business decision - the painting has doubled in value from his $300,000-ish sale price.
Carlton trio Lance Whitnall, Nick Stevens and Heath Scotland have been caught up in an underworld feud after a motorcycle gang bashed a drinking partner with links to Mick Gatto.
They were drinking with the victim when the bikies attacked.
The assault happened in full view of drinkers at a popular bar in Ivanhoe just after midnight late last month.
After being punched and kicked, the victim was then frogmarched from the bar and abducted.
It is believed he was bashed again somewhere else.
Last month, a jury cleared Gatto of having murdered underworld hit man Andrew Veniaman, who was shot dead in a Carlton restaurant in March last year.
There is no suggestion the Carlton players were involved in the Ivanhoe affray.
All three have provided witness statements to police.
The Victoria Police organised crime squad is investigating the attack.
Carlton spokesman Ian Coutts said the club was aware of an incident that occurred outside a venue earlier this year, and there would be no futher comment as no Carlton players were not involved in the incident.
It is the second time this year reports have emerged about possible links between AFL players and police investigations.
West Coast captain Ben Cousins and ruckman Michael Gardiner apologised to supporters and sponsors after being linked to Perth gangland identities in May.
They included John Kizon, one-time friend of slain Melbourne gangster and killer Alphonse Gangitano.
The Eagles' connection to Kizon was thrust into the spotlight after a bloody gun and knife fight between two rival motorcycle gang members at a busy Perth nightclub.
Cousins and Gardiner were questioned by police after speaking by phone with a member of the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle gang before and after the nightclub battle.
Police have not charged Cousins or Gardiner.
There is no suggestion of a link between the Melbourne and Perth incidents.
*Professor David Morgan and his team at Monash University have developed "Muscle Injury and Repair Technology" designed to test athlete's muscles to determine their susceptibility to injury. The technology also includes a rehabilitation program designed to minimise recovery times.
It is noticable that hamstring tear injuries occur during eccentric exercise at long muscle length, when the hamstring muscles are used to brake the forward swing of the leg during sprinting. This caused Prof Morgan to speculate that the microscopic damage associated with delayed onset muscle soreness may initiate a gross muscle tear under certain conditions. This raises the possibility that eccentric exercise of the hamstring muscles (lengthening the hamstring) may reduce hamstring injury rates, and that susceptable players may be identifiable from their hamstring angle torque curves.
This has been tested with St Kilda, who have seen their hamstring injury rates fall from 16 in 2001, to 4 in 2002, and 2 in 2003. Other clubs have now joined the testing program.
*3AW sports reporter Kelly Underwood became Australia's first woman football caller by calling the last quarter of Sunday's Essendon-Carlton game at the MCG alongside regulars Rex Hunt and Tony Leonard.
Kelly, 27, was reportedly being urged to audition for the radio spot in June, and that key 3AW callers such as Rex Hunt were anxious for her to get her chance at the call.
She certainly has the voice and knowledge to hold her own among the men.
*Plans to feature an Australian rules football exhibition match during the Commonwealth Games are unlikely to eventuate.
Hopes of replicating the exhibition match played at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games were dashed by the logistical nightmare of the MCG being used for Games events, and Telstra Dome hosting Rugby 7s matches.
*Young Essendon footballer Adrian Wilson could face charges after allegedly assaulting a Crown Casino staffer.
Rookie-listed Adrian Wilson, 20, and a friend were arrested after becoming involved in a scuffle outside Crown about 6.15am on August 8.
A police spokeswoman said the two men resisted arrest and capsicum spray was used.
Essendon spokesman Simon Matthews confirmed Wilson was involved in an incident and both he and the club were working with the police on the matter.
A Metropolitan Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed they were called to an assault at Clarke St, Southbank, and transferred a man to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition.
Wilson – first placed on the rookie list in 2003 – was kept at Fitzroy police station for four hours before being interviewed over serious assault matters. He was released pending further investigation.
*With the AFL needing an average of 240,000 spectators a round over the last three weeks of the home-and-away season to break the all-time record of 6.119 million in 1998, league chief executive Andrew Demetriou is certain the attractiveness of the race to the finals will bring crowds through the gates. He said 5.39 million people had passed the gates this season so far.
Crowds are up by 300,000 on the same time last year and the league has been taken by surprise by the bumper attendances considering the redevelopment at the MCG and the Gabba, as well as the number of "home" games played outside Victoria by local clubs. These were issues that did not impact on the 1998 record figures.
*The AFL will mark the 150th anniversary of the first game of football between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar by commissioning an official history of the game. The league has called for tenders, seeking a historian to comply the "definitive history" of the sport. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the author would have two years to complete the project, the book set to be published on August 7, 2007, exactly 150 years after the first game was played in the parklands that are now home to the MCG. The AFL has already decided the book should be up to 500 pages, incorporating more than 250,000 words. Expressions of interest will close in November and the league will appoint an author in December.
*Word on the street is that one of the stars Mcleod's Daughters, actor Rachael Carpani, has split with Port Adelaide young star Chad Cornes.
The celebrity couple were together for a year – he was her date to the Logies and she watched him win last year's AFL grand final.
While they are yet to officially announce the end of their relationship, sources close to the pair say it's splitsville.
(Mcleod's Daughters can be seen in the US on the W network)
*We all know Kevin Sheedy as a coach, racing fanatic and back pocket plumber. But the Essendon hero also fancies himself as a geo-political commentator.
Sheeds was overheard delving into recent European history at a knees-up for Ukrainian independence day last Tuesday night.
Sheedy praised Ukraine's Orange Revolution, which last year reversed a bogus election result after millions joined pro-democracy protest marches throughout the country.
"I come from a great Irish philosophy of a deep-thinking nation, about the opportunities that can be taken off you," he told his rapt audience. "I think this has happened to the Ukrainian people. Basically, the Ukrainians are the Irish of Europe."
It's not certain if local Ukrainians welcome the Irish comparison, but many of them are diehard Essendon fans because their community centre is in the Dons' backyard, and despite the fact that Aussie rules' most famous player with a Ukrainian background was Carlton great Alex Jesaulenko.
*A 10-year-old girl became the victim of bizarre security measures when Telstra Dome staff refused to let her take her crochet hooks inside the ground.
Ellicia Spencer from Dandenong North was told by staff the needles were banned weapons and seized by a security guard. She was refused to collect them at the end of the North Melbourne v St Kilda match last weekend.
The Kangaroos fan said she was the victim of "security gone mad" at the ground. "It was like a bully saying 'I want them and I'm going to take them from you and you can't have them back'," she said.
Ellicia's father, Tim Scott, said his young daughter was in tears after the game. He said Ellicia had a Roos flag on a long wooden pole which was a more effective weapon than crochet hooks, but security weren't interested in that.
But large flags are on the list of items banned at the ground. Other illegal items include torn up paper, musical instruments, laser lights, cameras, large cool boxes, bicycles, fireworks, rollerblades and tennis balls. Umbrellas are permitted.
Ellicia's aunt, Felicity Spencer, took her to the game and was surprised when security searched her niece's bag. Spencer said she had trouble explaining to her why they took the needles.
Telstra Dome management have offered Ellicia and her family Medallion Club tickets as a goodwill gesture.
*Veteran statistician Bruce Kennedy has boldly predicted how the cards will fall at the end of round 22. On the Footystats website, Kennedy has tipped Sydney to finish fifth after the regular rounds are complete. And he reckons Melbourne will slide outside the eight will miss the finals. (He made the prediction at the start of Round 16, in the middle of the Demons' seven-game losing streak, before a one-point win over Geelong in Round 20.)
*Edward de Bono, the pioneer of lateral thinking, has been revealed as a secret weapon of West Coast's on-field success this year.
Dr de Bono, 72, who was in Melbourne earlier this month for the 12th International Conference on Thinking, said he addressed the Eagles in Perth in May (the only one he gave to an AFL club) on how to think differently about playing the game. He said he did not tell the players how to play football but talked about principles of creativity.
Dr de Bono said he was impressed with the players and they were very willing to learn. He said the talk was very successful as shown by their form, only losing two matches so far this season.
Dr de Bono, author of 67 books, has lectured governments and companies across the world on lateral, parallel and creative thinking.
Eagles football operations manager Steve Woodhouse said Dr de Bono's address was worthwhile but declined to reveal further details.
*Collingwood's Brodie Holland has been confirmed as one of ten contenders for series three of Dancing With The Stars, starting September.
The other contestants are former Sale Of the Century co-host Nicky Buckley, former Australian Idol judge Ian Dickson, swimming legend Dawn Fraser (who turns 68 next month), singer David Campbell, Seven newsreader Christine Bath, occasional Bollywood star Tania Zaetta, Home And Away star Ada Nicodemou and athlete Ky Hurst.
Each of the celebrity will be partnered with a dancing professional of opposite gender and they will dance each week and be rated by a panel of four judges. This and viewer vote will eliminate a couple the following week until two couples are left for the grand final, where a top prize of $20,000 will be awarded to the nominated charity of the winning couple.
Dancing With The Stars, which is based on a British format and launched last year, has been a ratings success for Channel Seven with series one and two both attracting an average prime-time audience of 1.8 million nationally.
Holland's girlfriend Sarita Stella is a model on Channel Nine game show The Price Is Right.
*Lion Jason Akermanis says he has no intention of getting into the boxing ring with former teammate Steve Lawrence.
Melbourne promoter Peter Maniatis offered Akermanis $50,000 to fight Lawrence, who says he wants to settle an old score with his friend. But Akermanis said on his website earlier this month there would be no fight, describing the proposal as "totally absurd".
*It's more than 12 months since Essendon captain James Hird fined himself $20,000 and agreed to become an umpires ambassador after he publicly bagged top umpire Scott McLaren.
As part of his honorary role, Hird has addressed all eight teams in the under-18 national championships in Melbourne for the past two years. He has primarily been involved with several umpiring trainee and leadership program addresses at Windy Hill.
McLaren has umpired two Essendon matches since the Hird outburst and none so far this season but there is no conspiracy theory, according to the AFL umpires department. He is not the only umpire who hasn't been assigned an Essendon game.
*That's the trouble with trying to run one of the most famous sporting clubs in Australia — sometimes it's difficult staying abreast of everyone who has been involved with it. Which is one way of looking at what happened at Collingwood last week in the wake of the passing a few days back of Norman LeBrun, one that was duly recorded in newspaper death notices on August 15.
LeBrun played with Collingwood in the 1930s and was a fine utility player, although he is probably best remembered for the fact that he was one of very few men of that era to have played with four league clubs, having also turned out for South Melbourne, Essendon and Carlton.
The Magpies were quick to act when they learnt of the death by duly placing a newspaper death notice of their own, complete with the club logo, the next day, offering its "deepest sympathies" to his family. But the only trouble was, the Norman LeBrun who died recently was not the league footballer at all because he has been dead for more than 60 years, having lost his life in combat in New Guinea during the Second World War, on November 15, 1944.
Alas, this is not the first time there has been such a mix-up. A few years back the Pies suffered similar confusion over the passing of a Jack Parker, thinking it was their 1950s player Jack Parker, only to learn it was a different person. More recently Hawthorn also acknowledged the death of 1940s player Wally Culpitt but discovered later that the person who died was another man of the same name.
But if all that sounds a bit embarrassing, what about a certain Melbourne Cricket Club member whose name is engraved on the MCG's memorial of those who lost their lives for their country. He often points his name out to friends and jokingly explains, just as Mark Twain once famously did, that reports of his death have been grossly exaggerated.
*The AFL's archival department is updating a list of the league's oldest living players for the simple reason that little is known about some players of the 1930s and earlier. The league is seeking to upgrade its files on as many of these old players as possible, facts such as birth and death dates, their playing height and weight, the clubs they were recruited from and any other anecdotal points about their careers. "We are just as interested in someone who has played one match as one who has played 200, and would be keen to hear from relatives, neighbours, friends or a player himself," said the AFL's historian Col Hutchinson.
OLDEST KNOWN LIVING AFL PLAYERS (Player, Games, Age)
Bill Campbell (Nth Melb), played 1929 2 100
Jim Sinclair (Haw) 1927 6 98
Billy Roberts (St K) 1928-37 160 96
Milton Lamb (Geel) 1928-32 72 96
Jimmy Bates (Ess) 1933 1 95
Joe Sellwood (Geel) 1930-45 180 94
Clen Denning (Carl, Fitz) 1935-47 195 94
Phil Lane (Fitz) 1932 1 94
Ken McKernan (Nth Melb) 1934-35 3 94
Dudley Probyn (St K) 1942 9 92
*He might have played only 13 games in yellow and black, but the passing last Tuesday of 1930s Richmond player Sid Dockendorff has required some adjustments being made to league records because until his death, at 97, he was the the third-oldest known living league footballer. From a Tiger perspective, though, he was much more than that, not least that he lived through every one of Richmond's 10 premierships and was born just four days after the club's first VFL match in 1908. Old Sid, though, used to be able to tell some great tales not just about his footy, recently explaining to a Tiger historian, Rhett Bartlett, how his grandfather who owned property near Greta once hired a young man to help on the family farm. Later caught stealing horses, that man turned out to be none other than fabled bushranger Ned Kelly. What's more, Sid's uncle, a policeman, was present at the police station when Kelly was bought in after the shoot-out in Glenrowan in 1880. (Kelly was hung in Melbourne on November 11, 1880)
Dockendorff played two seasons with the Tigers and later played 17 games for (and was captain of) Footscray (the Western Bulldogs).
*Bet this hurt. We couldn't help but notice that the AFL had chosen former Collingwood captain Lou Richards' grandson, Ned Morrison, skipper of Melbourne Grammar's first 18, to model the Pies' heritage guernsey. Well, it was pretty noticeable — given that he is a mad Essendon supporter.
*Footballers are treated like rock stars and now they reveal that rock music plays a big part in their pre-game preparation, according to a Herald Sun survey of their listening habits.
Kangaroos captain Adam Simpson said his team's string of spirited wins this year was thanks to a music mix tailored to every part of the Roos' pre-game routine. "When we win it's because of the mix, and when we lose it's because of the mix -- that's how important it is," Simpson said.
Western Bulldogs star Robert Murphy, meanwhile, confessed to a "man crush" on late INXS frontman Michael Hutchence.
St Kilda defender Matt Maguire, who hosts a radio show on SYN 90.7FM, revealed teammate Max Hudghton geared up for a big game by grooving to the Rocky theme, while tough Geelong defender Tom Harley had a soft spot for a pop starlet.
Port Adelaide's Chad Cornes warmed up to hard rock, and Melbourne Storm rugby league hero Billy Slater enjoyed a little country and western flavour.
Hawthorn's Luke Brennan revealed himself to be a multi-skilled musician. Brennan will be up against Fremantle's Luke McPharlin in The Footy Show's "Screamers" sing-off next month.
Some web links:
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou was paid $560,000 in his first full year at the helm of the country's biggest sporting competition, slightly less than the reported package of $600,000 on his appointment in 2003.
Former Roo charged with defrauding university
New AFL video game out September 8
Demetriou's 180-degree turn of thought on Swans
Cloke stalking claim
McLeod thought of early retirement
Clubs confused at finals venues
Ratings vindicate Pies-Blues match snub
Player agent in strife for giving away Big Brother tickets
Asian coverage under threat
Saints to complete financial turnaround
Bombers seek Gold Coast pre-season match
Saints, Swans furious over accountants report on clubs
Qantas launch indigenous AFL camp
Sam Newman controversy 1
Sam Newman controversy 2
Blues trio caught in underworld bashing
That's all for now. See you soon.
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