Swan's song just a noise for Magpies
'We wrote last year that Collingwood should cut its losses and sack him, but naturally that did not happen. For a start... it would have been forced to retain his six-figure wage in the 2013 salary cap. Photo: Joe Armao
Anyone who doubted the assertion that Dane Swan was a law unto himself or a divisive influence at Collingwood need only to witness the events of the past 48 hours, which accompanied Swan's Thursday night interview on The Footy Show.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire muddied the waters when he mentioned on Friday morning that Swan had told him about an appearance on the show, but the fact is that Swan and his manager Liam Pickering ignored the normal club procedures.
Swan was fined as a result and the relationship between Pickering and the club remains strained.
To this columnist, the decision to go behind the club's back in itself does not present as a major crime in the football-journalism context. But, in the context of Swan's standing at the club and the high stakes surrounding his questionable future with the Magpies, it becomes a significant factor.
Collingwood was deeply unhappy with the way Swan's first public appearance for the year was handled.
Luke Ball withdrew from the show, The Footy Show yet again put Collingwood in the headlines, drugs and Collingwood as a hot topic is back and various stakeholders in that whole conversation ranging from the Victoria Police to the AFL were a little uncomfortable with the entire scenario.
Swan and Pickering - who under normal player-agent practices would have received at least 20 per cent of the handsome five-figure sum Swan was paid to talk about drugs and headline The Footy Show's 2013 debut - had full and frank talks with Collingwood chiefs late last year. The message was clearly not received.
Collingwood and Swan agree he is training the house down, but the club will not discuss his off-field behaviour in any detail nor his poor influence on younger impressionable players.
We wrote last year that Collingwood should cut its losses and sack him, but naturally that did not happen. For a start - and although the club could have afforded the payout - it would have been forced to retain his six-figure wage in the 2013 salary cap.
Pickering was unhappy with the Magpies' relatively low-key response to The Age column and has said that his player needed a forum to clear his name.
But Swan's interview did not achieve that.
Murkiness always surrounds interviews that come at a cost, but that is a reality of the big business of the AFL and the media and certainly - having taken part in the Matt Rendell interview on Footy Classified a year ago - there is no doubt that some exclusives justify their price tag.
No one at Channel Nine would say whether the interview with Swan boasted ''no- go'' zones, although journalist Damian Barrett was satisfied with the way his conversation with Swan was conducted and later presented.
Swan denied that he had a drug problem, a positive strike against his name or that he had ''self-reported'' to the AFL late last year.
He was not asked whether he used drugs, nor specifics surrounding the incident which led to him being suspended last year by the club.
He became a little muddled over the ''no smoke without fire'' cliché´ and did not really address his troubled relationship with Collingwood and where that might end. He said he had never met me - not true - and that he was no angel.
Nathan Buckley's second season as coach appears adorned with high hopes and positive messages, but the presence of Dane Swan and his cohorts at Collingwood present his still greatest challenge.