Carlton chief executive Steven Trigg insists he has no case to answer regarding Eddie Betts’ move to AFL rivals Adelaide.
The much-loved forward left the Blues at the end of 2013 for South Australia, where he has blossomed.
But on Tuesday morning, Carlton coach Mick Malthouse alleged Trigg – then Adelaide chief executive – engineered the move well in advance of his departure.
“I’d still love to have a number of players here. Betts is the most classical one, because he’s a goalkicker,” Malthouse said.
“But Steven Trigg assured us when he arrived here, ‘don’t take it too personally. We, being Adelaide, had him stitched up 18 months out’.
“So it’s very, very difficult when you come to a football club and a bloke like that plays very cautious football because his heart and soul, certainly his mind, was everywhere else.”
The allegations have sparked an inquiry from the AFL, while Malthouse was axed by the Blues later in the day for “public disalignment” with the club’s board.
The claim was strongly denied by both Trigg and Betts’ agent Ned Guy.
Trigg said he discussed Betts when he joined Carlton but not the manner of his acquisition by the Crows.
“Plenty of people around the list management table will corroborate that,” he said.
“I’m hoping it was an error of terminology.
“I’d welcome any question from the AFL on that.”
Guy told News Corp it was “100 per cent not true”.
“It just didn’t happen. He didn’t agree to it until after the season finished,” he said.
“I find it pretty disappointing that he would question Eddie’s intent on the footy, saying he played cautiously.
“By his own admission he didn’t have the greatest year, but that was pretty disappointing to hear that from Mick.”
An AFL spokesman said the league “would make an inquiry to see if we need to do anything that would require us to investigate further”.
With 29 goals in the opening eight rounds, Betts is second in the race for the Coleman Medal.
Carlton’s leading goalkicker is Tom Bell with 10 goals.
During his time as Adelaide CEO in 2012, Trigg was suspended for six months and fined $50,000 by the AFL after the Crows were found to have breached the salary cap and tampered with the draft three years earlier in a deal with Kurt Tippett.