Veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson has questioned “why the AFL even has an integrity unit” if they are unwilling to lay charges over the Adelaide Crows’ infamous 2018 pre-season training camp.
Revelations detailed by The Age over the weekend revealed players were “petrified” and “unnerved” when they realised sensitive information they had confided to club staff had likely been handed to the facilitators of the ‘Collective Mind’ camp facilitators to be used in an activity.
While a previous AFL Integrity Unit investigation found that there had been a lack of due diligence conducted by the Crows, there were little further consequences for the club.
Speaking on Nine’s Footy Classified, an impassioned Wilson said that wasn’t good enough.
“Further horrifying revelations printed in The Age over the weekend about the Adelaide Crows’ camp draw comparisons with the psychological damage inflicted on the Melbourne players coached to lose in 2009 and the Essendon drug scandal of 2012,” she said.
“Which makes it even more astonishing that the AFL investigated the camp and its shameful and irresponsible practices and laid no charges.
“I’ve already had several cracks at the players’ union and their failings, but Sam McClure’s story poses many more questions, not least ‘Why does the AFL even have an integrity unit, if not to do something about things like this?’, particularly after the lessons of Melbourne and Essendon.
“Terrible things happened on that camp, some so disgusting they’re unprintable, and to younger players. Yet, head office investigated and did nothing. Surely it was up to them to do more than just inflict some flimsy preventative measures. And, as ever, the cover-up seems to have done as much damage as the crime.”
McClure discusses explosive Crows report
One of the more disturbing revelations of the camp was the conducting of a “harness” activity.
According to The Age, Crows players are “certain” sensitive information was handed to Collective Mind boss Amon Woulfe and business partner Derek Leddie.
“In order to get out of the harness, the player would have to crawl on his hands and knees towards a combat knife that Wolfgang had set on the ground, about 10 metres away,” McClure wrote.
“Each player could choose two teammates in the group to sit on chairs and offer moral support. Nine other teammates were instructed to pull the other way.
“As the nine others pulled the player away from the knife, facilitators encouraged them to hurl abuse at him. At first, it was relatively harmless; “Come on, mate. You’re weak, you’ll give up!”
“But as the struggle increased, the insults became more personal.
“Episodes of childhood trauma, relationships with partners and incidents of domestic abuse were among the subjects referenced as players tried to crawl across the mud.
“In some cases, the information was so sensitive that players hadn’t even shared it with their partners.”