JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Club's cuddle too soft by half, only a ban will suffice

While there appears little doubt the AFL will ensure that Collingwood suspends its convicted young star Marley Williams from home-and-away football, it is astonishing that the Magpies would not reach the decision on their own.

The cynical view is that Nathan Buckley needs to get game time into his prodigiously talented young star, whose legal issues have kept him away from training at a crucial time. Buckley also obviously believes Williams has paid the price for a 2012 violent assault and now needs structure in his life.

The kinder view regarding the still young coach is that he is not afraid to make unpopular public relations decisions in order to stamp his own values and authority on a football team that has for most of his tenure been divided.

Marley Williams of Collingwood is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Marley Williams of Collingwood is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm. Photo: Getty Images

Clearly Buckley places a high price on redemption and penance, having witnessed too many examples of players who refuse to embrace change or simply remain repeat offenders.

The Collingwood position is that Williams is no longer the irresponsible teenager who 15 months ago stayed out too late drinking and broke another man's jaw.

At the time the club stipulated he complete 10 weeks of community service - each Tuesday night working at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, a job Williams has chosen to own on a more senior and still regular basis.

The recontracted Williams, who achieved a top-10 finish in the Copeland Trophy, reportedly did not return home to Albany for Christmas, fearing he could be sucked into the vortex of old habits.

Buckley's clear stand is that the club could have suspended Williams to appease the AFL and the community on one level when instead it chose to make a cultural statement based on its belief that Williams is truly repentant and has already been punished.

There is also the small matter of precedent in that West Coast rookie Murray Newman, also convicted on a similar charge, has been allowed to play NAB Challenge games. Newman faces sentencing next month.

But precedent dictates that both players be suspended in home-and-away games, just as Michael Hurley (three weeks) and Heath Scotland (two weeks) were after serious assault incidents. On both those occasions, the AFL was compelled to intervene to convince Essendon and Carlton respectively that no less a punishment than the loss of games was acceptable.

Collingwood's stand indicates that some heavy-handed guidance from AFL integrity boss Andrew Dillon will be required in the Williams case, because Buckley's intention to play Williams in Sunday's practice game has demonstrated his clear intention that Collingwood alone will not suspend the player.

Buckley's belief in Williams at a time when he is trying to reshape the club's culture and along the way has lost faith in other more proven and better-known players, is a statement with an explanation mark and one supported by his captain and chief executive.

But playing AFL is a privilege and those who choose to do so sign on to a code incomparable with most work places. Whatever Williams' legal team think of the verdict last week and whatever its predictions regarding sentencing, the 20-year-old must have that privilege removed in the short term.

The AFL will surely make that point on Thursday to Magpie bosses Gary Pert (chief executive) and Rodney Eade (director of football ). If Williams is the clubman Buckley believes he has become, then he will survive the punishment the game and Collingwood's own standards should demand. And hopefully he will also continue to repay his coach's faith in him.

4 comments so far

  • Yawn. I think we've all had enough of your 'holier than thou' attitude, Caroline. Perhaps you could find something positive to report on, rather than constantly whining that everyone should resign or be sacked.

    Commenter
    Pete
    Location
    Warrnambool
    Date and time
    February 27, 2014, 11:56AM
    • I would have thought football would be the last thing on his mind at the moment. Given he could be in the slammer for a while ala Andy Krakouer.

      He's a young bloke who stuffed up. Once again going out, drinking grog, end result and disaster. It happens too often. Players must understand they are targets these days. Its just the way society is now. Campbell Brown never worked it out, some players just don't.

      Commenter
      GG
      Location
      Wa
      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 12:05PM
      • if he didn't play for the pies know one would be saying a thing about it just like the kid from west coast that played last game and is picked to play tonight

        Commenter
        Jason
        Location
        Skye
        Date and time
        February 27, 2014, 3:52PM
        • This does not bode well for muzza

          Commenter
          Keyser Soze
          Date and time
          February 27, 2014, 4:12PM

          Make a comment

          You are logged in as [Logout]

          All information entered below may be published.

          Error: Please enter your screen name.

          Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

          Error: Please enter your comment.

          Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

          Post to

          You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

          Thank you

          Your comment has been submitted for approval.

          Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

          Related Coverage

          AFL 2015

          Round 1
          Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
          CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
          Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
          MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
          SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
          BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
          WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
          Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
          STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
          ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
          FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
          Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
          HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 2
          Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
          WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
          Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
          RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
          GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
          COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
          GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
          PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
          Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
          GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
          ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
          NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 3
          Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
          COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
          Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
          CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
          ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
          SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
          NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
          BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
          Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
          HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
          GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
          WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 4
          Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
          RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
          Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
          STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
          ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
          GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
          PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
          FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
          Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
          BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
          GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
          WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 5
          Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
          CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
          Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
          RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
          SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
          GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
          NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
          WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
          Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
          MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
          STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
          ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 6
          Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
          COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
          Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
          NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
          WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
          GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
          GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
          MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
          FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
          Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
          CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
          PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 7
          Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
          ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
          Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
          ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
          HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
          CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
          SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
          WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
          Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
          WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
          RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
          BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 8
          Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
          GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
          Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
          STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
          GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
          GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
          HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
          FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
          Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
          ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
          MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
          PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 9
          Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
          SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
          Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
          HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
          MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
          WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
          RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
          ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
          Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
          BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
          COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
          WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 10
          Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
          FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
          Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
          CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
          GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
          ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
          PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
          Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
          GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
          NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
          STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
          Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
          MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 11
          Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
          PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
          Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
          GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
          WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
          NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
          Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
          COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
          STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 12
          Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
          ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
          Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
          RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
          Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
          CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
          GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
          WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
          Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
          GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 13
          Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
          FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
          Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
          SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
          Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
          HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
          BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
          STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
          Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
          CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 14
          Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
          SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
          Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
          COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
          Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
          RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
          GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
          WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
          MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
          Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
          ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
          ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
          FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 15
          Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
          PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
          Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
          RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
          Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
          ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
          WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
          NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
          WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
          Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
          GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
          HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
          BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 16
          Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
          NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
          Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
          GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
          GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
          COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
          SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
          FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
          Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
          MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
          PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
          STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 17
          Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
          CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
          Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
          GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
          ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
          RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
          ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
          BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
          Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
          WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
          MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
          WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 18
          Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
          HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
          Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
          GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
          COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
          SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
          CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
          GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
          Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
          PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
          ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
          FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 19
          Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
          ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
          Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
          COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
          WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
          BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
          GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
          WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
          Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
          MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
          GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
          STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 20
          Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
          SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
          Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
          ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
          NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
          PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
          GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
          BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
          Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
          RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
          WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
          FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 21
          Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
          HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
          Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
          COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
          GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
          GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
          STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
          ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
          Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
          NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
          CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
          WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
          View All Fixtures
          Round 22
          Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
          GEE 7vs COL 43 LIVE Stats
          Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
          GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.50) 13:45Spotless Stadium
          HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($17.00) 14:10AS
          NTH ($1.67)vs WBU ($2.25) 16:35ES
          ESS ($6.75)vs RIC ($1.12) 19:20MCG
          GCF ($3.30)vs PTA ($1.35) 19:20MS
          Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
          ADE ($2.05)vs WCE ($1.80) 13:10Adelaide Oval
          STK ($4.40)vs SYD ($1.23) 15:20ES
          FRE ($1.08)vs MEL ($8.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
          View All Fixtures
          Round 23
          Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
          RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
          Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
          GEE vs ADE 13:05SS
          BRI ($3.80)vs WBU ($1.28) 13:45G
          PTA ($1.77)vs FRE ($1.95) 15:50Adelaide Oval
          HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($15.00) 16:40MCG
          SYD ($1.02)vs GCF ($12.00) 19:20SCG
          WCE ($1.11)vs STK ($6.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
          Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
          MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
          COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
          View All Fixtures
          AFL 2015
          Overall standings
          Team P W L D % Pts
          Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
          West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
          Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
          Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
          Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
          Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
          North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
          Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
          View all
           

          Follow Us on Facebook

          Featured advertisers