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Swan must regain trust of 'Pies teammates

Roar Guru
8th August, 2012
1

Collingwood AFL coach Nathan Buckley says he’s extremely disappointed with boozy Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan, telling his star midfielder: “You should’ve known better”.

Buckley on Wednesday brushed aside concerns the two-game ban imposed on Swan for upcoming clashes with fellow top-eight sides Sydney and North Melbourne would hurt third-placed Collingwood’s finals campaign.

The first-year coach says he’s not interested in sweeping things under the carpet, or avoiding short-term pain en route to long-term gain through developing a culture of professionalism at the club.

Just over a fortnight ago, the players met to discuss their commitment to claim a 16th Collingwood flag after being premiers in 2010 and runners-up last year.

“When the playing group get together and decide … we’re not going to drink, you don’t drink,” Buckley told reporters.

“Dane has accepted that he was drinking when he shouldn’t have been.”

Buckley says Swan drank water at a St Kilda hotel on Sunday night, but he was drinking alcohol before and after being at the pub.

“I was extremely disappointed,” said Buckley, a fellow Collingwood Brownlow Medallist whose disciplined approach on and off the field during his playing days was legendary.

“Whether it’s a young player … or whether it’s a senior player like ‘Swannie’ who really should know better, the disappointment is just as keen.

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“He was obviously under the weather (at training on Monday).

“It was basically there for all to see, the state that he had come to the club in.

“Swannie made a poor decision, a decision that he’s quite remorseful and embarrassed about. He spoke to the playing group this morning about that.

“He understands he needs to earn the trust of the playing group and the rest of the club. He understands he’s part of a high-profile club and you’re going to be held to account for your decisions probably on a higher standard than most.”

Buckley said the Magpies were yet to decide on whether Swan would be allowed to play VFL in the second week of his suspension.

“He’s got his tail between his legs as you’d expect,” Buckley said.

“When you look a teammate in the eye and ask something of him, you expect you’re going to receive that. That’s the most disappointing thing is that you expected that (commitment to avoiding alcohol) and it hasn’t come.

“So there’s a little bit of ground for Swannie to make up.”

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Buckley says Swan is very close to his family and mates.

“Not all of his friends are associated with the football club so not all of his friends have got that connection with Collingwood and the need to fall into line sometimes with the team ethos,” Buckley said.

“Sometimes, the balance of that can go astray and this is one of those occasions.”

Collingwood banned midfielder Sharrod Wellingham for the opening two rounds for drinking while injured and skipping a recovery session.