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Magpie Alex Fasolo battling depression, will miss Freo clash

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 20: Alex Fasolo of the Magpies in action during the 2017 AFL round 09 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 20, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Magpie Alex Fasolo is battling depression and will miss the round 11 clash with Fremantle

COLLINGWOOD forward Alex Fasolo is suffering depression and will take a short break from the game to manage his health.   

The 24-year-old will not face Fremantle on Sunday but will continue to train and prepare as normal, with the club hopeful he will make "a swift return".

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"Collingwood footballer Alex Fasolo will take what is expected to be a short break from playing as he manages the challenge of depression," the club said in a statement on Tuesday night.

"Fasolo, 24, will not play against Fremantle this weekend, but take time out in the interests of his health.

"He will continue to train and prepare for football with the expectation of a swift return to playing.  

"It is requested that Fasolo’s privacy be respected. The club will be making no further comment." 

Fasolo's return could come as soon as the Queen's Birthday clash against Melbourne on June 12, with the Magpies' bye to follow in round 13. 

Several AFL players have spoken about their struggles with mental illness in recent seasons, including Sydney superstar Lance Franklin and former Geelong, Melbourne and Brisbane Lions player Mitch Clark.

Greater Western Sydney ruckman Tom Downie retired from the game on Friday to deal with mental health issues. 

The AFL Players Association provides professional services to players dealing with mental health issues, while many clubs have psychologists on staff. 

Former North Melbourne and Sydney star and mental health crusader Wayne Schwass, who struggled with depression during his decorated career, believes many players are fighting mental health battles in secret.

Anyone seeking counselling or help with mental health issues can contact www.beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 224 636