Tanking isn’t anything new. After some alleged tanking in the Sydney Olympics cross-over matches in the men’s indoor comp, the rules were changed so that 1st played 4th in the opposite pool, while the 2nd and 3rd placed teams had their opponents drawn out of hat… or something like that. Do teams and coaches do things to inhibit their ability to win the immediate contest in order to gain an advantage somewhere down the track? Of course. But it’s not always wise to boast about it after…

According to some people who went to the U16 national carnival a team tanked its last dead rubber match to decide who their opponent would be in the gold medal playoff.

Going into its last round robin game against WA, QLD had won 8/9 matches and guaranteed a spot in the gold medal game. SA and WA were both on the same amount of wins. WA needed to take a set off QLD to break the deadlock and get into the gold medal game. QLD had lost to SA earlier in the week but had beaten WA (I’m guessing WA to have been made up of a lot of the guys who played in the Rossmoyne and Aquinas teams that played off for gold in U15BH at AVSC last year, and hence quite formidable).

Queensland won 3-1 and WA went through to the gold medal game. I wasn’t there so i can’t comment on what happened, but according to someone at the tournament, one of the QLD players posted on his facebook account that they had indeed tanked the set.

WA beat QLD in 5 sets the next day to take gold.


3 Responses to “Hubris”

  1. Alexis Says:

    I can’t really comment on this situation as I don’t know the details of it, but I was involved in something vaguely similar when playing U/21 Nationals.

    My team had already made the final going into the last match of the Round Robin, so the coach decided to rest our two most important players, one of whom didn’t even suit up (this is actually the only match of the tournament I got to play!). We ended up losing that match 0:3.

    Now, it turned out that the team we played needed to beat us 3:0 in order to make the final. I think its fair to say that the team which missed out on the final because of this wasn’t happy with us.

    Did we go all out to win? Of course not – but then we didn’t have to in order to achieve our goals. I know that the players who were on the court went all out though! Did we throw the game to influence who we would play? Of course not – we didn’t even know, we just knew we were in. Did our ‘tactic’ negatively influence other teams? Yes it did.

    In my opinion the team who has earned the right (through performance earlier in the tournament) to influence their destiny can do so as they see fit. I would hope that they would act with responsibility in this position.

    Having said that, I’m not sure I’d be writing anything on Facebook about it……

  2. Hugh Nguyen Says:

    My U21 women’s team was the beneficiary of a “tanking” this year. we had to play WA in our last round robin game and assumed we couldn’t play off for a medal. WA was already assured of making the gold medal game and rested its players. we managed to beat them in 4 sets and knocked QLD out of the bronze medal game.

    I’ve seen a few cases in which the last game is a dead rubber between 1st and 2nd, who will meet each other the next day in the gold playoff. In two of those cases, the team that ended up winning gold rested their best players and scouted the other team.

    I’d have to agree that you earn the right to influence your destiny if you have performed well. But it is something else to make a mockery of the game. Like poor Icarus, the volleyball gods have a habit of punishing hubris.

  3. Facts please Says:

    The volleyball gods are always watching and they generally get it right.

    There is a difference between “tanking” and resting player in a dead rubber.
    I do not feel it is my job to ensure we play our best team all the time. However what ever team is on the court has ALWAYS been there to win.

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