Nine’s Tony Jones said Fox Footy journalist Tom Morris is owed a “massive apology” after an extraordinary attack after last night’s AFL season opener.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge sensationally stormed out of a press conference after unleashing a withering spray at Morris, in which he used the words “gutter journalist” and “muck-raking trash”, labelled him “an absolute embarrassment” and pointed out that he’s a Melbourne supporter.
READ MORE: Gould’s forgotten pick for next Immortal
In a chaotic series of events, the former Dogs vice-captain was picked in the 22, was a late omission an hour before the bounce, and then returned to the side when defender Jason Johannisen was injured in the warm-up.
“Tom Morris has got a pretty good reputation I’ve got to say, and rarely gets things wrong,” Jones told Nine’s Today.
“He didn’t get this wrong either.
“Tom Morris was spot on, and why Luke Beveridge would take umbrage to that is beyond me.”
Jones said Beveridge should be looking within his own club for the source of the leak.
“The only reason Tom Morris knew there was a question mark over Lachie Hunter was because someone within Luke Beveridge’s own ranks told him so,” he said.
“The problem should be with the rat in the ranks, not Tom Morris who was merely doing his job.
“I don’t think any reporter should have to put up with the crap that he put up with last night.”
The Dogs lost the grand final rematch by 26 points at the MCG, before Beveridge sat down for his customary press conference.
The 2016 premiership-winning mentor then launched an extraordinary spray and marched out of the room when asked by Morris about the Hunter selection drama.
“You’ve got the nerve to ask me a question and even be here,” Beveridge said.
“You’ve been preying on us the last two times. You barrack for Melbourne, Tom Morris. You’ve been preying on us. You’ve been opening us up, causing turmoil within our football club by declaring our team well before it needs to be declared. Is that the way Fox want you to operate? Is that what you’re doing? Is that the gutter journalist you want to be? Is that who you want to be?
‘He needed to take a couple of deep breaths before that press conference’
“We went in with a plan. We had some late stuff go on, with JJ (Johannisen) unfortunately coming out in the warm-up. Everything other than that was according to plan from the Sunday, which somehow you found out about again.
“We need to get to the bottom of this. Obviously, we need to put our hand up and say that there’s some leakage going on. But you’re preying on it and it’s a team you barrack for. Your conflict of interest here is considerable. And yet your gutter journalism at the moment is killing us behind the scenes.
“The health and wellbeing of people in the game is caught up in all of this stuff. We’ve got things to concentrate on performance-wise, we’ve got to look after our own, and then you cause all of this muck-raking trash that happens behind the scenes. Names get brought up into it. All we’re doing is planning for a football game.
Clutch Petracca sinks Dogs hearts
“Are you proud of yourself? You’re proud of yourself? Wow.
“That’s enough, that’s enough. Next question please. You’re not welcome.
“Well, have you got enough boys and girls? I think we’re probably done, aren’t we?
“This is what happens, because I know … If you found something out, you’d ring (head of communications) Adrian Ceddia and say, ‘Look, I know this … Just so you know that I know … Something has happened and it’s got out’. The courtesy and the integrity and the ethical way to go about it has happened in the past.
“Now this bloke here, and what he’s doing – it’s giving everyone else a bad name.
“Right when we’re trying to stabilise our competition and what we do, with everything that’s gone on behind the scenes and us as coaches and a football program with the soft-cap situation as it is, and this sort of stuff happens.
“You’re an embarrassment to what you do, mate. You’re an embarrassment. An absolute embarrassment.”
Beveridge then left the room without fielding any other questions.
Jones said the Bulldogs coach needs to say sorry.
“Luke Beveridge has got to have a look at the definition of gutter journalism,” he said.
“Gutter journalism is not talking about team selection. Gutter journalism is talking about someone’s salacious past, or their private life.
“Even on that basis alone Tom Morris deserves a massive apology from Luke Beveridge.
“It’s not gutter journalism, it’s good journalism.”
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!