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Tigers sack Connors, suspend Martin

Date

Caroline Wilson

Daniel Connors celebrates kicking a goal for the Tigers against GWS in round 12.

Daniel Connors celebrates kicking a goal for the Tigers against GWS in round 12. Photo: Getty Images

Richmond has sacked its errant midfielder Daniel Connors and suspended his star teammate Dustin Martin for two weeks after the pair failed to attend training yesterday morning.

The incident was strike three for the 23-year-old Connors, who was suspended for eight matches two seasons ago after an alcohol-fuelled incident at a Sydney hotel that involved former teammate Ben Cousins. It was that notorious early morning punch-up when Connors’ struggles with alcohol first became public.

Connors was in trouble again following a series of social mishaps over the pre-season.

Star Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin.

Star Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin. Photo: Joe Armao JAA

He was given his final chance by coach Damien Hardwick two weeks ago when he was returned to the senior side to take on Greater Western Sydney.

The latest misdemeanour took place after the Tigers’ loss to Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday. The club is denying the pair had gone on a drinking binge, but the behaviour incurred the wrath of the club’s leadership group and administration.

The Tigers' website said Connors and Martin missed training yesterday morning as a result of taking sleeping medication on Monday night.

''Daniel has failed to meet club expectations on a number of occasions and this latest incident can't be considered in isolation,'' general manager of football Craig Cameron said.

''While Connors, who is on prescribed sleeping medication, was not drinking alcohol, he had, by his own admission, failed to uphold the standards set by the club in missing the training session,'' the website said.

''As a result, he has decided to walk away from the club and focus on the next phase of his life.''

''Dustin [also] understands that missing training is unacceptable,'' he said.

Martin, who spent Monday night with Connors, admitted to the club he had been drinking, but not excessively, and chose to also take the strong sleeping medication prescribed for Connors, despite it not being prescribed for him.

The devastated midfielder, taken at No. 3 in the 2009 national draft and third in the Tigers’ best and fairest last season, was reportedly shattered when told of his suspension. He will miss games against Melbourne on Saturday and Gold Coast the following weekend.

The decision was made in consultation with club CEO Brendon Gale, football boss Craig Cameron and the leadership group.

The club had previously managed to keep a tight lid on the talented 21-year-old’s off-field behaviour.
While the incident is Martin’s first official off-field transgression, his behaviour has been a cause for concern for Richmond for some time.

In his first year with the club, the Tigers moved to contain his lifestyle, moving him into the home of club president Gary March. Connors, who lived with teammate Shane Edwards, is a frequent visitor to March’s home.
March is currently overseas and unavailable for comment.

Connors did not argue with Richmond’s decision to sack him, while Martin expressed remorse after mixing alcohol with sleeping pills provided by a friend.


The pair was at a friend’s house on Monday night, where they played pool before heading to Connors’ house.  Cameron said Connors did not consume alcohol while Martin had a couple of drinks - bourbon and coke - before taking the sleeping medication.

‘‘I can’t say that he argued for his position. We didn’t have a conversation where he came and pleaded his case,’’ Cameron told a press conference at Punt Road Oval, adding that there had been no other indiscretions from Connors.


‘‘It was well documented then that this was the last chance, that if there was another indiscretion that was it,’’ he said.

‘‘Daniel is a talented footballer and he has some things he needs to sort out. We will continue to support him as much as we can.. It’s important for Daniel that he gets himself back on track.’’

Cameron said the club was disappointed that Martin failed to seek medical advice from the Tigers’ doctor before taking the tablets.

‘‘He took them because he said he couldn’t sleep,’’ Cameron said. ‘‘Dustin got sleeping tablets, our understanding is from a friend [other than Connors]. It’s disappointing that Dustin has used prescription medication without seeking advice from a club doctor and we are counselling him.

‘‘Dustin is very remorseful.’’

Cameron was adamant no illicit drugs were involved and attending training was a non-negotiable part of upholding the club’s standards.

- with Chloe Saltau

 

115 comments

  • Oh great. Just great. (NOT).

    Commenter
    Go Tiges !
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    July 04, 2012, 12:27PM
    • Thanks for that, now to lend some credibility to the story please write a series of stories about how this will destabilise the club, refelects poorly on the president and should lead to the sacking of the coach for failing to instill team values on his charges. C'mon, surely the Tigers deserve the same level of journalistic outrage reserved for Collingwood, Nth Melbourne and Carlton recently?

      Commenter
      FWOZ
      Location
      Saints
      Date and time
      July 04, 2012, 12:27PM
      • Surely you're not serious. Caroline gives the tigers as hard a time as anyone, don't you remember when the Giesch was in charge or Frawley or Wallace or Greg Miller etc etc. Similarly she went for West Coast for years when they had their troubles, ask anyone who has been a ceo of the afl if she's taken it easy on them. Don't look for bias,she'll have a crack at anyone.

        Commenter
        greg
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        July 04, 2012, 12:55PM
      • Too true! Very predictable style of fabricating stories out of thin air. Can't wait to see what nonsense will spout from this one.

        Commenter
        k
        Date and time
        July 04, 2012, 12:58PM
      • Yeah FWOZ...because we (Richmond) always get off so lightly in the media and no one ever fabricates or embellishes stories where Richmond's involved. Get serious.

        Commenter
        James Tiger
        Location
        Glen Iris
        Date and time
        July 04, 2012, 1:14PM
    • Thanks Tiges!!

      Commenter
      B Ratten
      Location
      Carlton
      Date and time
      July 04, 2012, 12:32PM
      • Wow suspending Martin for two games against melb and the suns will really hurt!!! Why don't clubs take a stance and make it hurt suspend themm from big games a month out would see Martin miss games vs North and Carl all vying for a top 8 spot....oh yeah obviosuly those enforcing the sanctions would have looked at the fixture and thought they could not do without him for those games...what a joke!

        Commenter
        Anth
        Date and time
        July 04, 2012, 12:33PM
        • Wow. Richmond aren't trying to punish themselves, they're trying to punish the player. Do you honestly expect a club to determine their next toughest games to use as the 'suspension games' in order to prove some point to Martin, or to 'look good' to the league/other supporters? Does the AFL tribunal select certain 'big' games that players sit out of in order to serve a suspension? No.

          Commenter
          Al
          Location
          Souf Yarra
          Date and time
          July 04, 2012, 12:54PM
        • If he played for Collingwood all that would happen is Eddie would tell him he's a naughty boy and play this week.

          Commenter
          PeteB
          Date and time
          July 04, 2012, 1:07PM
        • Perhaps two match payments approx $30k or will they go the token $5k fine?

          Commenter
          Any fine?
          Date and time
          July 04, 2012, 1:19PM

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