Richmond players Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones will be sent home from Queensland and suspended for 10 matches after being arrested over an early morning brawl on the Gold Coast.
- Stack and Coleman-Jones have been banned from playing in the AFL until next season
- They were arrested on Friday morning, in breach of the AFL’s strict bio-security arrangements.
- The Tigers have been fined $100,000 following the incident
Stack and Coleman-Jones were arrested at 3:30am on Friday on a night out which put them in breach of the AFL’s strict COVID-19 biosecurity arrangements.
Queensland Police confirmed two men, aged 20 and 21, were arrested after a “physical altercation” on Orchid Avenue in Surfers Paradise.
Coleman-Jones sustained minor facial injuries and was treated in hospital. Stack was detained by police but was released a short time after without charges being laid. Both players were intoxicated.
The Tigers have been fined $75,000 as a result of the protocol breach, which the club said the two players would pay.
The club will pay an additional $25,000, which was suspended from a previous breach involving the wife of captain Trent Cotchin.
The AFL released a statement on Friday afternoon saying Stack and Coleman-Jones breached the league’s protocols by “taking an Uber, visiting a non-approved Gold Coast venue and becoming involved in an incident that involved Queensland Police”.
Richmond confirmed Stack and Coleman-Jones had been consuming alcohol at a club and an AFL-sanctioned event at its hub.
They chose to continue drinking at the completion of the function in their rooms, before going out and attending a venue.
“It is a privilege to be able to continue our competition, and with that privilege comes responsibility,” AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said in a statement.
“The actions of the players are not only irresponsible but disrespectful to the competition and everyone associated with it.
“There is simply no excuse for this breach. The two players knew the rules and chose to ignore them, putting the safety of everyone at risk.
“The behaviour of the players is not what we expect, regardless of whether any protocols are in place or not.”
Tigers pair ‘made very poor decisions’
Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale said the club was “incredibly disappointed” by the behaviour od Stack and Coleman-Jones.
“The club can’t ignore the fact that off-field, we have got some things wrong in recent months,” Gale said in a statement.
“We need to own that as a club and get better. We all accept that this has been a difficult year, but it is no excuse for some of the mistakes we have made.
“These players made very poor decisions after consuming too much alcohol, choosing to leave the club’s hub in the early hours of Friday morning, and in doing so potentially putting themselves, their teammates and the AFL season at risk.
“Their decision to attend a venue while outside the hub was also completely unacceptable, and in no way aligns with what we stand for as a club.
“Yes, young people can make mistakes, but we expect better. There is absolutely no excuse for what took place.
“We do, however, recognise we need to support and educate them. They have learned a very hard lesson and we need to help them earn back the trust and respect of the club.
“Both players are extremely remorseful and apologise for their actions. That apology extends to the Queensland Government and Police who have far more significant matters to attend to in these difficult times.”
The 10-match suspensions will begin in round 17, as the Tigers have a bye in round 16, and will stretch through to next season.
The $100,000 sanction will be included in Richmond’s 2021 soft cap.
Stack and Coleman-Jones were isolated after returning to Richmond’s accommodation base on the Gold Coast on Friday morning.
They had cleared a 14-day quarantine in July. They were not part of the current quarantine hub where AFL officials, and players and family members are undertaking the required 14-day quarantine period.
It is Richmond’s second COVID breach of the season after Brooke Cotchin broke biosecurity protocols by travelling to a day spa on the Gold Coast in July.
The latest incident comes two days after Queensland was announced as host of the AFL grand final for the first time.
Richmond beat Fremantle on the Gold Coast on Wednesday at Carrara to move into the top four, having won its last four matches.
The Tigers’ next game is against fellow finals aspirants Geelong on Friday, September 11, also at Carrara.