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.

Drugs collision course

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Illicit drugs 'the biggest issue in AFL'

Collingwood has raised the stakes in the explosive issue of illicit drug use by footballers.

PT0M0S 620 349

THE AFL clubs appear on a collision course with their players over holiday drug testing, as several club chiefs confirmed they would take on the players union over target testing of suspected illegal drug users.

It is believed that several clubs will push for the power to bring in AFL-sanctioned drug testers to target-test ''red alert'' players on a daily basis during their out-of-season holiday in a bid to identify footballers with illicit drug habits.

While the AFL Players Association refused to comment publicly on potential changes to the current policy, it is believed the players have already entertained the prospect of more stringent holiday testing as concerns of off-season drug abuse have become increasingly rife in the game.

Every AFL club contacted yesterday by Fairfax Media confirmed they would support off-season target testing under special circumstances. Two clubs confessed they had unproven suspicions that a player in their group could have become a regular user of the highly addictive methamphetamine (ice), which paralysed the AFL career and the ongoing welfare of Ben Cousins.

Collingwood boss Gary Pert told the AFL club chiefs last week that he was desperately worried some players were entering the game as healthy young men and departing it with illegal drug habits. Pert said he had consulted West Coast chief Trevor Nisbett over that club's problems with illegal drug use which culminated in the suspension and later sacking of Ben Cousins.

Pert did not mention any names at the AFL meeting but it is known that Collingwood player Dane Swan has been questioned about alleged drug use and denied it.

St Kilda has unofficially asked the same question of its star defender Sam Fisher, who has been the subject of concern among some Saints players. Fisher, too, has vehemently denied using illicit drugs.

Should the players' union refuse to allow daily testing during the holiday period, several clubs said they would be prepared to take on the association to expose players hiding drug habits or identify bad influences among teams.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou did not discount the prospect of changes to the illicit drugs policy - a policy that five years ago saw the AFL become the first sport in the world to introduce out-of-season hair testing. Hair testing is favoured because it can track drug use dating over a six-week period but the results cannot be counted as a positive drug strike.

Acting AFLPA boss Ian Prendergast refused to comment on the illicit drugs policy yesterday, but it is believed the players union has been consulting AFL doctors over the potential for more stringent holiday testing.

Demetriou said: ''What [Pert] was seeking was the input of the other CEOs and asking: 'Is there any more we could be doing, as a football code?' So we agreed to get together at the end of January - which actually wasn't a scheduled CEOs meeting - to try and talk about this in a very mature way, and think about ways we can improve what we've currently got.''

The last recorded drug testing figures released were from the 2011 season in which six players tested positive to illicit drugs, and although fewer tests took place, the AFL said more players were target tested.

The last time a club independently drug tested its players was Carlton in 2004 when then Blues president Ian Collins ordered Karl Norman and Laurence Angwin to undertake testing when the pair turned up at training under the influence of ecstasy.

Collins defended his move on the grounds of occupational health and safety. The AFL rewrote its illicit drug code soon after.


  • Fantastic move. If players are being paid $400K+ they need to take the privilege & opportunity seriously. In any other profession, there are levels of expectation with the more you earn. Alcohol & drug abusers are weeded out. The same needs to be applied to AFL players. As much as many do not ask to be role models, they all are and they all need to behave as such. Cleansing the AFL will also send a strong message to those people who supply the players and stop them hanging on & exploiting the links they have with the players to ply their trade to the general public.

    Date and time
    November 28, 2012, 8:48PM
    • Gerryk is talking unmitigated rot. If the drugs are not performance enhancing, the AFL has no business interfering. The AFL is just providing yet another reason for legalising all recreational drugs and treating them as a health issue rather than a law enforcement one.

      If someone does something anti-social while under the influence of a drug, they should get exactly the same consequences as if they did it with a clear head. It's not the drug taking which should be targeted, but bad behaviour.

      And yes, I take drugs. My favourite is cabernet sauvignon, though I'm also partial to a good shiraz or a well-aged riesling. Fortunately, my drugs of choice are legal in Australia at the moment. There are some countries, however, where this is not the case. My defence of drug use, whether by footballers or anyone else, is independent of their legal status. And THAT's what I consider to be a good role model for young people.

      Greg Platt
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:07PM
    • I agree. I think its the only move the AFL could possibly make to protect their brand.

      AFL players seem pretty much like full time employees to me. No matter where or when, the players actions have repercussions on their club brand and the AFL brand. For this they are handsomely compensated.

      This is not onerous. It is what ADF members live with on a daily basis. Compared to AFL players some ADF members do far more demanding jobs, in dangerous places to protect innocent people for a whole lot less cash. Most of the time they remain annonymous.

      It would seem faily simple. If you are an AFL player who wants to play with drugs or abuse alcohol then quit playing AFL. There is simply no place for you no matter how good you are.

      At present, most intelligent people in our society realise illicit drugs are harmful, illegal and more often than not associated with violent homicidal crime, or the sexual exploitation of women. The more drugs you take the more that immutable fact is justified away.

      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:39PM
    • Does the AFL test its executives?

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 7:29AM
    • Greg Platt, if amphetamines give you extra energy and a feeling of being unbreakable, then they clearly are performance enhancing. Why do you think cyclists and athletes were using them so much before Epo and other drugs were found to be even better and harder to detect? A certain former Eagle was playing on this stuff when he played his best footy.

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 9:53AM
    • Run a 'holiday' drugs test across all the young professionals, students, tradies and musicians leaving Meredith music festival next weekend. Perhaps all workplaces should test for drugs all the time until we have killed off the recreational drugs scourge. No, wait...footballers should be the only the on...

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 10:03AM
    • Greg Platt, it is you that speaks absolute crap. The AFL, or anybody for that matter has a moral obligation to stop it's employees (or family & friends) from taking any illicit drug, performance enhancing or not. Society has turned to shit because of enablers like yourself. Illicit drugs are detrimental to recovery, therefor they cannot perform to the best of their ability. Same with alcohol. Professional athletes should be prohibited from drinking alcohol for the entire duration of their respective contracts. Any player that doesn't agree can go and find a new profession.

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 10:19AM
    • If this is going to be brought in, I think the QC's, judges, politicians and anyone in the media should be first in line.

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 10:21AM
    • Being an AFL player is a life-style choice.

      Taking drugs is also a life-style choice.

      The two as per reputation and example to the young, are irreconcilable.

      Seems too many people discard drug use in todays society as no biggie and yet would be the first to be horrified if their own children were found taking stuff.

      If we doing a role represents a role model to the next generation then it comes with all the responsibilities.

      Date and time
      November 29, 2012, 1:45PM
  • Clearly it is not the business of the AFL to impinge on a players personal time or life. The erosion of personal freedom for players and the rest of us living in a nanny state is bad enough without the AFL hierarchy acting like an additional pseudo police force. No doubt the AFL board sipping on a glass of red wine (whilst regretful of such a circumstance) would find a player falling off a high rise balcony after a drinking bout, far more acceptable than someone failing an illicit drug test while on holiday.

    Who would want to be a footballer at the end of the day?.

    Date and time
    November 28, 2012, 9:07PM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    HuffPost Australia

    AFL 2016

    Round 1
    Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
    RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
    Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
    MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
    GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
    NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
    SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
    Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
    WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
    PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
    WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
    Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
    GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
    COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
    Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
    ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
    BRI vs NTH 16:35G
    STK vs WBU 19:25ES
    FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
    HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
    CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK vs COL 13:45MCG
    RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
    SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
    GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
    WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
    WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
    GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
    HAW vs STK 14:10AS
    BRI vs GCF 16:35G
    CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
    ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
    COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
    NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
    GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
    WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
    PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK vs GWS 13:10ES
    FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
    MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
    Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
    Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs STK 13:45ES
    ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
    GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
    RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
    GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
    Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs SYD 13:10G
    CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
    WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
    Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
    GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
    SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
    GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
    WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
    FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK vs NTH 15:20ES
    PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
    HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
    GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
    BRI vs COL 19:25G
    RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
    Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
    MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
    WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
    Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
    GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
    PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
    NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
    FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
    GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
    STK vs ESS 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
    Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs HAW 13:45G
    MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
    STK vs FRE 16:35ES
    ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
    ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
    COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
    WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
    Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
    CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
    GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
    GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
    FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
    WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
    ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
    BRI vs FRE 16:35G
    GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
    WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    STK vs CAR 13:10ES
    RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
    GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
    Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs WCE 13:40G
    FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
    WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
    Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
    ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
    GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
    STK vs GEE 19:25ES
    Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
    Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    GCF vs STK 13:40MS
    SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
    CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
    Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
    Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
    WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
    MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
    Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
    WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
    ESS vs STK 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
    Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
    NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
    WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
    ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
    STK vs MEL 15:20ES
    BRI vs GWS 16:40G
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL vs NTH 19:50ES
    Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
    GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
    WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
    WBU vs STK 19:25ES
    GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
    Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
    HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
    PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
    Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
    HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
    COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
    BRI vs PTA 19:25G
    NTH vs STK 19:25ES
    Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
    FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
    ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
    Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
    MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
    GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
    WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
    ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
    GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
    FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
    WBU vs COL 19:50ES
    Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs CAR 13:45G
    HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
    GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
    STK vs SYD 19:25ES
    PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
    RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
    FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
    WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
    RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
    GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
    COL vs GCF 19:25ES
    PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
    BRI vs GEE 15:20G
    ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
    STK vs BRI 12:00ES
    ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
    GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
    SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
    NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
    GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
    ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
    FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
    Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
    View all

    Follow Us on Facebook

    Featured advertisers