It is, after all, the AFL grand final tomorrow, so it’s fitting that this week’s Wankley goes to the bastion of Aussie Rules buffoonery, Channel Nine’s AFL Footy Show.

Footy Show regular and Carlton full-forward (and 2009 Coleman medallist) Brendan Fevola caused quite the stir in AFL land this week after conducting the Footy Show‘s “Street Talk” segment after the Monday night Brownlow count at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

Fevola became increasingly “tired and emotional” as the night wore on, and it all unfolded on camera. Finally his antics became too much and he was replaced by a infinitely more sober Nathan Brown during the night. He was also fined $10,000 by his club Carlton, and as the media condemnation heated up he was axed from the AFL Footy Show’s grand final extravaganza and currently finds himself fighting for his career as the rest of the nation gears up for Grand Final day.

It would be easy to give “Fev” the Wankley.

But Fevola is what he is: a brilliant footballer who loves a beer and a smoke; a clown; the village idiot who’s paid handsomely to play professional sport and has a burgeoning and lucrative media career to boot, and a buffoon who should never mix alcohol with a camera crew. If Fev wasn’t a footballer, he’d probably be in Carlton’s cheer squad.

So we’re giving the Wankley to his part-time employers The Footy Show instead. After all, they gave Fevola the green light to conduct his post-Brownlow interviews after sinking beers for God knows how many hours beforehand.

Sure, it makes great TV, but the vast majority of Fevola’s interviews are now in lockdown at Nine HQ Melbourne — never to see the light of day.

Which makes The Footy Show‘s decision to play the “edited” excerpts of the Fevola interviews more intriguing, and more than a little hypocritical. What benefit did they have in broadcasting them last night? Ratings. And lots of ’em.  A combined 1.204 million (for the AFL and NRL shows) in fact. 583,000 for the AFL franchise in Melbourne alone:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDSphOXMgbM[/youtube]

The Footy Show’s grand final edition made sure they got the best of both worlds: they aired Fevola’s slurry vox-pops in front of their family audience… right after throwing him under a bus.

Gary Lyon went out of his way to point out (using his best poker face) that the program didn’t condone Fevola’s actions — but best they air the highlights reel to let the hooting crowd decide for themselves.

Perhaps the last word should go to Carlton President and a former Carlton forward himself, Stephen “Sticks” Kernahan, seen here celebrating the 1987 Carlton premiership. Stand by your man indeed:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzA2nFklDo4[/youtube]