High-profile Fremantle recruit Jesse Hogan has been dumped from the Dockers’ AFL season opener after breaking the team’s alcohol policy.
The Dockers also revealed Hogan is battling clinical anxiety, which led to the star forward making “poor decisions around alcohol consumption”.
Fremantle’s football manager Peter Bell revealed Hogan’s drinking session on Saturday night left the star forward in an unfit state to train with the team the next day.
As punishment, Hogan was ruled out of this Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne at Optus Stadium.
No timeline has been set on his return.
Bell said that to his knowledge no other players were involved in Hogan’s drinking session.
But he said the fact Hogan had drunk so much on the eve of an important training session was unacceptable.
“The players are very clear, we would prefer the night before a training session players make responsible decisions about what their consumption is,” Bell said at a hastily-arranged press conference on Monday.
“At the appropriate moment, a glass of wine with your partner or your family might be ok if you’re not injured.
“But Jesse made poor decisions with regards to alcohol, and for that reason he will be unavailable this week.
“His clinical anxiety can lead to him making poor decisions around alcohol consumption and, therefore, impact his health and well-being.”
Bell said the club was supporting Hogan in every way it could.
Hogan has endured a tough few years.
The 24-year-old’s father died in 2017, and he was diagnosed with testicular cancer less than a month later.
Hogan was traded by the Demons to Fremantle during the off-season after drawn-out negotiations.
The 24-year-old kicked 152 goals in 71 games with Melbourne and won the 2015 Rising Star award.
He kicked 47 goals in 20 games in 2018 but missed Melbourne’s drought-breaking finals campaign after suffering a foot stress fracture.
Bell refused to reveal when Fremantle became aware of Hogan’s anxiety problems.
“What is important is we are supporting him 100 per cent,” Bell said.
“Jesse’s a quality player. But what is important for him is he’s in a physical and mental state to be able to play week after week.
Talk of slipping player standards at Fremantle was raised when Lachie Neale defected to Brisbane at the end of last season.
Bell said the culture at the club was strong, adding he was “overwhelmingly impressed with the attitude of the playing group and the application and diligence”.
Hogan’s absence comes at the worst possible time for the Dockers.
Matt Taberner (hamstring) and Brennan Cox (hamstring) are currently injured, meaning Fremantle might need to turn to out-of-favour forward Cam McCarthy during the early rounds.