North Melbourne great Corey McKernan has launched a fierce defence of his former club, slamming renewed suggestions the Kangaroos should relocate.
McKernan said there was an agenda against the Roos and that any argument the club should move made “zero sense”.
The biggest financial crisis in AFL history has raised speculation over the long-term future of the game’s poorer clubs, prompting journalist Caroline Wilson to say forces remained at play to move the Kangaroos out of Melbourne, 13 years after it resisted a shift to the Gold Coast.
“It’s just a ridiculous argument. You want a move a club that has made profits over the past 10 years when there’s others that are $13 million in debt,” McKernan said.
“If the game is in trouble, why are you saying we should go? I live in Queensland and I want the Suns to do well because it’s good for the game, but they are going spend hundreds of millions of dollars ensuring they can be successful.
“And you want North to go to Tasmania for financial reasons? It’s so flawed it’s not funny.
“If it wasn’t for James Brayshaw, North Melbourne wouldn’t be here, but this is a long-standing thing. Caroline had a personal agenda against James and she’s never been able to let it go when it comes to North Melbourne.”
North Melbourne has made a profit in 11 of the past 12 years, reducing a mountain of debt to a $650,000 sum it was set to pay off this year.
The club doesn’t rely on gaming revenue having long ago given up its pokies, while it had hit a pre-Round 1 record membership of more than 37,400.
McKernan, who won two premierships and AFL MVP honours across a 233-game career for the Roos, said North Melbourne was no longer the league’s financial ugly duckling.
“There are lots of other clubs out there who’ve had far less success than North Melbourne and are in much more debt that probably should consider moving before us,” McKernan said.
“Maybe our biggest fault is that we’re always competitive. Okay, if we’re middle of the road, sorry we don’t bottom out and get the No.1 draft pick.
“Sorry we’re not s--t.”
AFL boss Gill McLachlan this morning reassured fans that the league was determined to emerge from the coronavirus shutdown with 18 teams in their current state.
“We’re going into this with 18 clubs and we’ll go out with 18 clubs,” McLachlan told SEN’s Whateley.
“That’s our commitment over the next four, six, eight, 10 months (however long it takes to get back to playing).
“Right now our task is to preserve revenue streams, cut costs … so when we can restart … (we restart) with 18 teams.”