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Pie Marley set to return

Collingwood plans to bring back Marley Williams for Sunday's game against Gold Coast, while coach Nathan Buckley says that training and playing games provides the defender with ''stability'' in his life as he awaits sentencing from a Western Australian court.

Buckley confirmed that the Magpies intended to play Williams in the practice match against the Suns, having withdrawn him from Saturday's game against Richmond in Wangaratta, which was only two days after the emerging defender was convicted on a charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm in Albany, Western Australia. Buckley said Williams had shown ''real remorse'' and that the club wanted to provide structure for him through training and playing while Williams' life was ''in limbo''.

On the burst: Collingwood's Marley Williams in action last season.

On the burst: Collingwood's Marley Williams in action last season. Photo: Getty Images

''We made a decision to take Marley out of the squad before the end of proceedings last week. He'd spent three and a half days sitting and hadn't been able to get out on the track,'' Buckley told Fairfax Media. ''So a full week's training is important for him and at this stage, yeah, we intend to give him a run around on Sunday.''

Collingwood's decision has been to ''support'' Williams, the club's statement last week pointing out that the player had already been sanctioned by it for his part in an incident in which a 29-year-old man suffered a broken jaw in December, 2012. Williams, 20, is to be sentenced in April and could be jailed for the GBH charge, which the Williams camp have argued was an act of self-defence.

Buckley said the club felt training and playing gave Williams stability and ''structure'' in his life. ''We support Marley absolutely. We've put the statement out about what we can and cannot say. What we've seen is the development of a young bloke who has shown, you know, real remorse about his part in the incident over there and he's grown as a leader …

''The stability in his life is about training and playing and he's obviously … he's going through a period at the moment that his life circumstances are in limbo. So we want to try and provide that structure for him and support him as much as we possibly can so training and playing is our intent for that.''

The Magpies may also bring back another important running defender, Alan Toovey, who is a chance to play his first game since a knee reconstruction following last year's Anzac Day game. Ben Sinclair, too, will resume in the Gold Coast game with Nick Maxwell (who was rested last week), as the Pies regain important defenders - including the quick and hard-running Williams - from a back line that has been very inexperienced to date in the pre-season.

Buckley said the Magpies rated Williams and Toovey highly, saying of Williams: ''He became an important player last year - top 10 in our B and F … it doesn't happen overnight, he has worked away at it. Ben Sinclair, as we said, he's another player … he was rarely beaten. So I mean, those players that can win the one-on-ones and they've got real speed and real ability to rebound off the back line, get your off your heels, they're clearly important to us.

''Sinclair and Maxwell play this week. Toovey's a possibility of getting some game time this week. We'll make the call later on, later in the week, but he's full training and it's just a matter of getting the all clear from the docs before he gets the green light and that will be a medical decision.''

36 comments so far

  • If the AFL allows Marley to play they will look like a laughing stock. Let us be clear Marley has been found guilty of GBH the jury had the option of finding him guilty of the lesser charge of assault of did not do so. GBH carries a maximum sentence of 10 years jail this is a serious charge and the prosecution is seeking a jail sentence.

    Commenter
    Tevi
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 9:22AM
    • The AFL will look like a laughing stock.... where have you been the last 12 months??

      Commenter
      Eagle86
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 12:34PM
  • Based on Dimetrious comments regarding Jale King associating with convicted criminals, surely by his standards, the entire Collingwood Football Club must be put on notice. If its good enough for 1 it has to be good enough for the Magpies. I wonder if Demitriou wishes he could wind back the clock and not be Judge and Jury with Jake King or are there different rules for Collingwood/Eddie?

    Commenter
    Tim
    Location
    Beaumaris
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 9:24AM
    • Well I don't think that Marley Williams should play either. As a Collingwood supporter I don't think that it does the team any service to field a player who will be understandably distracted, and it probably doesn't do Marley a lot of good either. Having said that, Tim, you might want to have a think about why the AFL (and others) are a bit more concerned about who King associates with. There's a rather big difference between a young player who retaliates in a bar altercation (albeit not in self-defence), and a man with known links to organised crime. Maybe the Crime Commission and the federal government was a bit theatrical about the extent of corruption in the football codes last year, but the fact is that there is significantly more than nothing to worry about. Please, don't let the distinction be lost on you before you let that chip on your shoulder start talking about double standards.

      Commenter
      Days to Come
      Location
      Here and There
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 10:34AM
    • Comparing a bloke who has been convicted of punching another person, to someone who is a notorious underworld figure, with a rich criminal history, is idiotic.
      The law is designed so that different crimes incur different punishments, or would you also like a one-size fits all legal system too?

      Commenter
      whitey
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 10:34AM
    • Pathetic comment.

      Commenter
      Trashman
      Date and time
      February 27, 2014, 8:23AM
  • Support people alleged to have committed a crime. AFL players convicted of violent crime have no place in the arena.

    Commenter
    Role model much?
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 9:26AM
    • that includes Alastair Clarkson too, and his smashing up of public property and abusing umpires I take it??

      Commenter
      Bill
      Location
      Preston
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 4:29PM
  • Ben Cousins, Michael Hurley, Campbell Brown, Stephen Milne, Marley Williams et al. The AFL has a responsibility. Our community also has a responsibility. We cannot just "dump" these people and expect someone else to recover them. Williams will be punished by the courts, let it happen. The clubs have to judge how to deal with them during these times and it looks like that is happening quite well. Put away the noose please.

    Commenter
    MApB
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    February 26, 2014, 9:35AM
    • We live in a society that must be tolerant and not coder those that have made drunken mistakes

      Commenter
      Bob M
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      February 26, 2014, 10:34AM

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