AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says he won't ''brush under the carpet'' the recent mistakes that have damaged the game, and for many tarnished his legacy as the head of the sport.
The AFL and its outgoing chief executive have been plagued by controversy for the past two years in the shape of the Adelaide salary cap issue, the Melbourne ''tanking'' saga, and the Essendon supplements scandal, which last year saw unwanted history made when the Bombers were thrown out of the finals as part of their sanctions.
''Many people made poor decisions, and the game was surely impacted, but I know that many people have also made great decisions - through 2013, since 2013 - to make sure that the game will win out, and it will be celebrated by its fans, without sense of misgiving, or delusion, or distrust,'' Demetriou told the AFL's season launch in Adelaide on Wednesday.
''We will remain at the forefront of the challenge that dogs all sports - managing the integrity of the game and all who work in it. We will not be beaten by the scourge of drugs, or gambling, or sinister processes.''
Demetriou reiterated the advice he had been given by former commission chairman the late Ron Evans, when he was persuaded to join the AFL from the AFL Players' Association in 2000 - that the game's string-pullers were no more than custodians of the sport.
''It's what all of us in this room should never forget,'' he said. ''It's what must drive us all: at the AFL, at club level, our coaches, our players, politicians, our junior administrators, at Auskick, as parents nurturing the next generation.
''It's what I hope I can pass on to my successor: the game means so much to so many people.'' ''I am not denying the role of the CEO in any organisation is an important one, but CEOs come and go-great institutions remain forever, and the AFL is a great institution, getting better all the time.
''We cannot amend the past, but we can surely shape the future, and that has always been the approach of the AFL Commission, and the executive. I am sure the new commission, and new executive will not be changing that agenda one iota.
Demetriou, who leaves the post at the end of this season after more than a decade, conceded that the AFL was ''miles away'' from having an appropriate representation of women in its corridors of power.
''In this International Women's Week, in which the world recognises the role of women in our society, we must remain open to inclusion of women in all areas of our game,'' he said.
''We are getting better, but we're miles away from where we must be, with more women in senior roles in the AFL and in clubs. We have women on the commission, we have a woman as a club president, I look forward to the next step - a CEO at club level, and more women on the AFL executive.''
Demetriou said he was proud of the work that had gone into establishing a redeveloped Adelaide Oval as a new home ground for Adelaide and Port Adelaide, and looked forward to the new AFL ground to be built in Perth.