Essendon midfielder David Zaharakis has hit out at suggestions the Bombers could look to tank Saturday’s bottom-of-the-table AFL clash with Fremantle.
Zaharakis labelled the calls offensive and hypocritical, unloading on the same commentators who suggested the WADA-hit Bombers would struggle to win a game in 2016.
“It’s quite ridiculous,” he told RSN.
“At the start of the year people were saying we couldn’t win a game for the whole year and then all of a sudden now because we’ve won only one game from 10 rounds, and all of a sudden we’re tanking?
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
The Bombers sit second-last on the ladder, one spot ahead of the winless Dockers.
The topic of tanking has come to the fore this week, with Melbourne coach Paul Roos, triple-premiership winner Michael Voss and Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert all calling for a lottery system to determine the opening few draft picks.
Such a system would stop a distinct reward for finishing in last place with the No.1 draft pick, and in turn, put an end to suspicions of tanking.
However Zaharakis insists no player would ever take to the field with the intention of losing.
“Every week as a player you’re a competitive beast, you go out there to win games of footy,” Zaharakis said.
“We have recruitment managers at the club to pick the best players at whatever pick they get.”
The 26-year-old also said there was no way critics could accuse the Dockers of tanking in matches this season.