Last week two executives of sports data company StatEdge, which compiled the voting results for the NRL, were charged with using prior knowledge to bet on the result of the coach of the year.
The NRL had been notified of the winners in four categories including coach of the year just after 6pm on September 13 via an email from Ben Trevisiol, the general manager of StatEdge. Police will allege within an hour of sending the email Trevisiol and Joshua Wilson, the chief executive of StatEdge, started betting on Bellamy to win coach of the year.
According to police facts, Wilson told the NRL integrity unit soon after the awards night that he had made a “stupid mistake” and admitted he had passed on information to mates at an eastern suburbs pub shortly after sending off the results to the NRL.
Betting information uncovered by NRL analysts found more than $20,000 was won on the Bellamy award including an individual bet to win as much as $10,000.
Bookmakers restrict the size of bets that can be placed on so-called “novelty” markets because of concerns with the integrity of pre-determined outcomes such as the winners of the Dally Ms and television shows like Survivor and MasterChef.
Sources with knowledge of the investigation said Fletcher and Kent had their bets red flagged by the NRL to police, who are examining the bets made after the result was determined.
There is no suggestion Fletcher and Kent had any connection to the StatEdge pair or had prior knowledge that Bellamy would win the award when they placed the bets.
Fletcher and Kent did not return calls and texts from the Herald on Wednesday, nor did Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley by the time of publishing.
Contacted about Fletcher and Kent’s bets, a NSW Police spokesman said: “NSW Police continue to work closely with the NRL and sports betting agencies as part of investigations and anyone with information that may assist detectives is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.”
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said on Wednesday he was not aware of the Fletcher and Kent wagers. An NRL spokesman declined to comment.
While the winners of the player awards including the Dally M medal itself are determined by polling on each game and accumulate through the season, the coach’s award is judged after the regular season by a panel of 24 prominent former players on a 3-2-1 basis.
Bellamy won with a total of 52 votes, and Manly’s Des Hasler was the runner-up with 40 votes. There is no wrongdoing suggested on the part of any of the judges, who sent in their individual results to be compiled by StatEdge.
The Melbourne coach, whose side won the minor premiership in 2019 by six points, was trading at between $3 and $4 to win on September 13 but shortened into favouritism by the time markets closed nearly three weeks later.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said last week “the integrity of the NRL competition is paramount to NSW Police”.
Wilson and Trevisiol are due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on August 20.
Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.