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Collingwood player Dane Swan has been suspended by the club for “breaching club protocol” after he “drank 6 days before the Swans game” and showed up at training in an “unfit” state.
Swan has been stood down by the club for two weeks and will miss big games against the Sydney Swans and North Melbourne.
It is believed one of Swan’s teammates questioned his sobriety at training on Monday.
The two weeks will harm Swan’s chances at another Brownlow Medal, for which he will still be eligible.
Collingwood’s Director of Football, Geoff Walsh, said that after establishing the facts the club felt a suspension was required.
“Fundamentally, a strict club protocol was broken and it was felt that such a breach couldn’t be ignored,” Walsh, said.
“It’s black and white. To be out six days before a match is clearly a no-no. There is a clear mandate from the playing group, which is supported by the entire football department, that six days before a game you shouldn’t be out and about.
“A number of people gave us information around the circumstances. We questioned a number of people, internally and externally, we spoke to Dane himself obviously. The player leadership group was consulted, the executive management and the football department was across it. Ultimately, all of those discussions led us to taking the decision that has been taken. The decision, after a number of full discussions, was unanimous.”
Walsh said the penalty is consistent with that dealt to Sharrod Wellingham earlier in the season. Wellingham was suspended for the first two matches of the 2012 campaign after a breach of the club’s alcohol protocols.
“It’s a breach that we take very seriously. The decision has been strongly endorsed by the playing group, particularly the leadership group, but there’s nothing more or sinister behind it. It’s a breach of a player protocol and anyone would be treated the same way,” Walsh said.
“Dane Swan is a great player and will be when he returns but, like everyone, he signed off on and agreed to certain rules and certain protocols and when they’re breached there are consequences.
“Dane was disappointed. Disappointed that he has let himself down, let his team-mates down and the football club down. There’s no doubt he is remorseful and disappointed but he entirely understands that his actions have led to the consequences that are on the table.”
Walsh said that Swan will not play at any level this weekend but could play for Collingwood in the VFL as he serves the second week of his AFL suspension.
“It’s quite likely that he will play in the second week, in the VFL. That is yet to be fully endorsed by everyone but it is quite likely that something like that will pan out,” Walsh said.