Malthouse backs down on Betts AFL claim

Sacked coach Mick Malthouse has dramatically backed away from his incendiary allegation that Adelaide illegally “stitched up” Eddie Betts’ AFL move.

In an interview to be screened on Thursday night, Malthouse has told Fox Footy he was keen to absolve Carlton chief executive Steven Trigg of any wrong doing.

Malthouse spoke to the AFL on Wednesday, a day after he made the original claim.

He made the allegation in the Tuesday morning radio interview that prompted his sacking from Carlton later that afternoon.

The AFL is investigating Malthouse’s comment, but is expected to clear Trigg and the Crows.

“Broadly, I made sure that I thought Steven was totally innocent of any mischief,” Malthouse said of his conversation with the league.

“It was more about structures: `this is how you set the thing up’.

“If there was a slight boasting there, so, `this is how it’s done’ and he was running that.

“I think it’s good practice to get something set up.”

Malthouse originally told SEN on Tuesday that when Trigg moved from Adelaide to Carlton last year, the chief executive told the Blues that the Crows had Betts “stitched up 18 months out”.

Betts moved from Carlton to Adelaide after the 2013 season as a restricted free agent.

Under AFL rules, clubs cannot reach agreements with free agents outside the official negotiating period.

Thursday’s TV interview is the first time Malthouse has spoken expansively since his sacking.

The three-time premiership coach told of the symbolic moment when he put an end to his 31-year career in the role.

At the start of this month, Malthouse broke the AFL record for the most games as a senior coach.

But Carlton’s form has been woeful and the radio interview two days ago was the last straw for the Blues.

“I went up to my study and thought `what now?’,” Malthouse said.

“I looked around and the first thing I took on in 1984 was a beautiful blue folder, magnetic board, which is now 31 years old and crumbled and whatever.

“But the magnetic strips still held to it.

“I thought `no’ – I took them all off, put them in the rubbish, folded it up, put it in the rubbish and put the rubbish straight out.

“It’s easy to put it in the rubbish, but it’s easy to get it out.

“So I took it down to the bin and virtually said `well, that’s it’.”

And Malthouse also spoke of his feelings about the end at Carlton.

“One of the things I probably did feel more than anything was – outside of the sense of disappointment – I felt as if I sort of deserved this a little bit better, either a bit more time or less time,” he said.

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