INJURED Fremantle midfielder Harley Bennell was removed from a Gold Coast bound flight shortly after boarding due to intoxication on Saturday.
Bennell, whose latest calf injury has him sidelined for at least another two months, has been on club-approved leave since Friday and drank alcohol on the Friday and Saturday.
He flew from Perth to Melbourne earlier on Saturday.
The club said in a statement: "After arriving in Melbourne to await his flight to the Gold Coast, Bennell went to a cafe at the airport. Shortly after boarding the Gold Coast flight he was asked to disembark by Virgin staff who believed he was affected by alcohol. Bennell cooperated with airline staff and returned to the Virgin Lounge."
Docker coach Ross Lyon told Triple M radio on Sunday he had spoken to Bennell. Lyon was told about the incident after his side hung on for a two-point win against Melbourne at the MCG.
"He had already flown from Perth to Melbourne (and) navigated that flight fine. Went to the lounge, went back on, was in business class, sat down and then was asked to leave. He got up, grabbed his backpack, walked off and went to the lounge," Lyon said.
"It's unfortunate that it's occurred but there was no disruption on the previous flight or on this flight, but obviously there was some signs of intoxication and he was asked to leave."
Lyon reiterated his support for Bennell and indicated the AFL would look into the issue.
"I still stand by Harley. We always support the person. He's had 60 weeks of rehab, where he's been super," Lyon said.
"Major disappointment last week when it blew up – another 10-12 weeks (on the sidelines). He looks around and sees the AFL landscape and sees everyone running around and knows what he can do. He's held himself together really well.
"He's had a bit of a slip and that's all it seems at the moment. The AFL will work with our club on it. It seems straightforward at this point but other than that, I can't comment."
Lyon was not sure whether Bennell would face punishment.
"I can't speak for our president and CEO. They'll work their way through it with Harley (and) Harley's player manager Colin Young," Lyon said.
"My concern is always support the player and their welfare, but we challenge any behaviour not befitting what we're after."
Fremantle football manager Chris Bond said he, chief executive Steve Rosich and Bennell were working with the AFL and Virgin.
"Due to a recurring injury problem which has prevented him from playing all of last year and now for the next eight to 10 weeks following another setback last week, Harley has been dealing with the frustration and disappointment of not being able to play AFL football," Bond said.
"We are disappointed that Harley consumed alcohol to the extent that airline staff felt he was unfit to take the flight.
"Steve Rosich and I have been in regular contact yesterday and today with Harley, who will continue to assist Virgin and the AFL with any other enquiries they have.
"In the meantime, as a club it is important that we continue to support and provide guidance to Harley on how best to cope with the frustration and disappointment of not playing football."