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Suns dump trio for breaching alcohol rule

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The actions of Harley, Brandon and Trent will leave us incredibly bare on the field this week, but this tough decision reflects the direction our club is heading and we can't compromise that
Rodney Eade

GOLD Coast has dropped Harley Bennell, Trent McKenzie and Brandon Matera for Saturday's match against Adelaide for failing to meet the club's discipline standards.

It is believed players were asked to steer clear of alcohol to concentrate on recovery in the wake of Saturday night's drought-breaking win over the Brisbane Lions.

The trio breached the directive on Sunday.

They were challenged by the leadership group on Monday before the leaders, Suns management and coaching staff agreed on the punishment.

Bennell, McKenzie and Matera will all play NEAFL this weekend before being considered for senior selection again.

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It isn’t Bennell’s first behavioural issue at the Suns. In February this year, he was disciplined for a breach of team standards. 

Bennell was believed to be one of several Suns punished by the club after a night out.

It's a watershed decision for the Suns, who are already decimated by an injury list that includes Gary Ablett, Jaeger O'Meara, David Swallow, Nick Malceski and Jack Martin.

Coach Rodney Eade said it was a tough decision, but the club could not compromise the standards it had now set.

"We had clear expectations and we are extremely disappointed and frustrated that Harley, Brandon and Trent didn't meet these standards," Eade said. 

"We have been encouraged that the majority of the playing group have made progress in living the attitudes and behaviours required to be an elite AFL player and team. 

"However those who don't live by the team's standards will be made accountable, no matter who they are. 

"The actions of Harley, Brandon and Trent will leave us incredibly bare on the field this week, but this tough decision reflects the direction our club is heading and we can't compromise that."

Acting captain Michael Rischitelli said the players fully supported the punishment. 

"We all understood and agreed on the standards outlined after the game and we feel let down by Harley, Brandon and Trent," Rischitelli said. 

"We expect Harley, Brandon and Trent to accept their punishment and importantly respond accordingly going forward."