No hidden story over pill duo: Hardwick
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick insists there is no story behind the story of Daniel Connors’ AFL sacking and Dustin Martin’s suspension.
And Hardwick says he has not had any issue with Martin’s off-field behaviour prior to this week.
The players were punished for arriving late to training on Tuesday – saying they had taken sleeping pills and slept through alarms.
Connors took his own prescription medication, while Martin took a friend’s sleeping tablets and had also been drinking alcohol.
Connors has had a history of off-field strife at Richmond, and the 23-year-old’s career at the club was terminated on Wednesday.
Rising star Martin was suspended for two weeks.
But the penalties have raised suspicions there may be more to the story than the club has let on – which Hardwick emphatically denied on Thursday.
“That’s absolute rubbish,” Hardwick said when asked if there was any more information about the incident that had been withheld.
“I asked the blokes straight in the eye what happened, and they gave us the truth.”
Hardwick said both penalties were appropriate, as the club needed to take a tough stance with errant players if the Tigers were to reach the heights they wanted.
“This club has been in the wilderness for 20 years and we’ve got to do everything better than everyone else to get back where we need to belong,” Hardwick said.
“We make no apologies for the hard stance.
“Generally the harder you are on a playing group, the better the results you get.
“I have no doubt the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain.”
Hardwick denied any ongoing concerns over Martin’s off-field behaviour, or that Connors had paid the ultimate price for leading astray the highly talented Martin.
“Everyone’s their own man … Dustin made a very poor decision on Monday night,” Hardwick said.
“There’s not many 21-year-olds that get the scrutiny of AFL footy.
“At the age of 21 we all made mistakes, and he’s learned a very harsh lesson.”
Hardwick said Martin would train away from the club for the next few days, and was likely to rejoin his teammates for training some time next week.
He won’t be considered for selection until Richmond’s clash with North Melbourne on July 22.
Connors and Martin’s sanctions will test the Tigers’ playing stocks ahead of their clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday.
Richmond were already without injured Jake King, Dylan Grimes and Tyrone Vickery, while midfielder Daniel Jackson was suspended by the AFL Tribunal on Tuesday for striking.© AAP 2013