‘Serious allegation’: bombshell dropped on AFL commentator
BRIAN Taylor is one of the most imposing men in the football media landscape with his command over the microphone and cameras.
But he was put on the back foot on Saturday afternoon when news breaker Damian Barrett shared a story he said was 27 years in the making and that alleged Taylor had bugged another team's rooms during the season.
"We're going to go back to 1991-92 when a certain big profiled, big character was captain-coaching a club in the then VFA," Barrett said on Triple M's Saturday Rub before being cut off by Taylor.
"Damo I have told you since 1991 that this is not true, this is just a made up flimsy operational story. I have legal people," Taylor said.
"I have dealt with your legal threats with this seriously over the years," Barrett replied.
"I am now going to ignore them."
Barrett then welcomed John Clarkson on to the show. Back in the days Clarkson was the runner for Prahran when Taylor was the captain-coach.
"The great man always had a point of difference there's no doubt about that. Back in that era he'd just come from his illustrious career at Collingwood," Clarkson began.
"You did a few more experimental things that are probably not the norm now, but we worked on a theory coming up against (bleeped out) who our nemesis to say the least.
"We need to get a bit of intel of what's going on so we could prepare the best. So we did record a bit of information from their pre-game situation when the coach was addressing the players.
"We laid it out beautifully we had all the game plan, all the maneuvers, all the match-ups. It went absolutely swimmingly but we had one minor detail, at quarter time we were six goals down."
Barrett then pressed Clarkson on just how the bugging of the opposition took place and the recording devices used.
"It wasn't exactly high-speed technology, basically a little speaker that you'd be able to buy at JB Hi-Fi for $5," he said.
"They weren't that discreet and it wasn't the greatest of surveillance."
As the tale began to wrap up, Barrett wanted one final confirmation that Taylor had indeed masterminded the bugging.
"Just to back over this so there's no ambiguity about what happened here, he bugged the dressing room of an opposition before he played the game in the VFA?" Barrett asked.
"I'm sure he'll verify it Damo," Clarkson responded.
After sitting and listening to the entire story unfold, the Triple M box exploded with Taylor slamming the story as a complete fabrication.
"You have legitimately cheated, you bugged an opposition coach's box," Wayne Carey said.
"Just a couple of minor things. I have never heard of John Clarkson and secondly I totally refute and denial all of your allegations," Taylor responded.
Billy Brownless, James Brayshaw and Carey were all left in disbelief as Taylor continued to defend himself against the, as he said, false story.
"I'm telling you now Damo, there's going to be repercussions over this," Taylor said.
"There will be. You might be disbarred, you might lose your radio licence," Barrett replied.
"You might not ever be able to coach again," Carey added.
Brayshaw pressed Taylor on just how the information was being used considering he was playing at full forward throughout the game.
"Brian, how were you using this information when you were a captain-coach and you were on the ground?" Brayshaw asked.
"I deny that I was involved in any such allegations, I don't know who John Clarkson is and it's even debate as to whether I was the coach at that time," Taylor responded.
Despite Taylor's constant claims the story was false, Barrett stated he would put his name to the story and back it in.
"This is a serious allegation," Taylor said.