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Pies 'thrown under a bus' over drugs: McGuire

Dinny Navaratnam  March 27, 2016 1:40 PM

AFL 2014 Rd 17 - Essendon v Collingwood

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire

It would be like taking a breathalyser to a workplace the morning after a Christmas party and saying everyone is an alcoholic

COLLINGWOOD president Eddie McGuire says his club has been unfairly targeted and has renewed calls for clubs to be given more responsibility in handling players' use of illicit drugs.

News Corp reported last Thursday that up to 11 Collingwood players had tested positive to illicit drugs in hair tests over the off-season.

The report also said at least two other clubs had recorded an even greater number of positive tests.

Positive results in hair tests do not count as a strike under the current illicit drugs policy.

"Collingwood has been thrown right under the bus here," McGuire said in a statement on Channel Nine on Sunday.

"This testing is designed to stop people getting into further trouble with experimenting or taking drugs.

"It is for statistical purposes.

"It would be like taking a breathalyser to a workplace the morning after a Christmas party and saying everyone is an alcoholic.

"What I would really like to have come out of this is some community leadership, and maybe for the AFLPA and AFL to realise that people best placed to deal with this are the clubs."

The story never should have come out, Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said after his side lost to the Sydney Swans on Saturday night by 80 points.

"One thing I do know is that our players – along with the rest of the players in the competition – were prepared to put their hand up to be tested under the guise of anonymity," Buckley said.

"Our players are the only ones that seem to no longer enjoy that cloak of anonymity.

"They've been betrayed in some sense and it wouldn't surprise me if they felt that a little bit." 

The illicit drugs policy was updated to become tougher last October. The doctors are the only people at a club notified if a player incurs a strike.

On the second strike, players are publicly named, banned for four weeks and fined $5000.

AFL football operations boss Mark Evans said last Friday the revised illicit drugs policy needed to be given time to work.

"This is the first year of the policy's operation, and I ask that the new policy be given a chance to be in operation and measured for its impact before we demand new changes," Evans said. 

"The use of illicit drugs affects all sections of society, including AFL players, but testing results continue to indicate levels of use below the general public."