THREE Fremantle players have escaped police prosecution for attending a house party on Sunday night but Luke Ryan and Jason Carter received fines for their roles.
Ryan, Carter and teammate Michael Frederick were among seven people who appeared in a video posted to social media while coronavirus restrictions were still in place.
The video was filmed at the Perth home Carter shares with his partner in Perth and occurred one day before the Western Australian government lifted gatherings from a maximum of two people to 10.
The Dockers fined Ryan and Carter $3000 each, $2000 of which is suspended, and the two footballers will be required to undertake yet-to-be-determined community service.
Frederick escaped sanction, because he was at the house for only a short time and was unaware other people were attending.
The police investigation found that the trio were not in breach of Closure and Restriction Directions laws applying to gatherings in private residences, although the video showed they did not adhere to health advice regarding 1.5m social distancing.
Fremantle chief executive Simon Garlick said club officials were disappointed in the three players' actions.
"Even though the gathering technically met the private residence requirements of one person per four square metres, the players acted contrary to the 1.5m social distancing advice the rest of the community has been following," Garlick said.
"We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard, regardless of the outcome of the police investigation. The wider community is doing a great job in helping to flatten the curve to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we have to uphold our end of the bargain.
"The resumption of the 2020 season will depend not only on approvals by governments and health authorities but also the trust, understanding and support of a community already impacted by COVID-19.
"There is a well-held community expectation that if we want to help flatten the curve and get somewhere back to normality, our players have a leading role to play in following social distancing rules without exception.
"The AFL and all clubs are also doing everything possible to get the season underway again, and part of being able to play games is demonstrating that we can adhere to the protocols that have been set and which everyone else in the community is required to follow."
A police investigation was launched on Wednesday but was short-lived, with Police Commissioner Chris Dawson calling Garlick on Thursday morning.
"I've just told Simon that the police are not going to be dealing with this any further," Dawson told 6PR.
"I'm not having a crack at the media but it's a bit instructive that these people are high-profile footballers.
"I'm not going to waste valuable police time, we've made an assessment, there's nothing to see here in terms of any breach.
"We do still need to maintain careful approaches with hygiene and I would expect that the club and the AFL can deal with that internally."
Ryan, 24, emerged as an important intercept defender for Fremantle last year and played his 50th AFL game in round one this year before the season was put on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Carter, 20, has played only two senior games, and 19-year-old Frederick is yet to make his AFL debut after being drafted last November.
The incident involving the Dockers trio came just days after NRL players Nathan Cleary, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Tyronne Roberts-Davis were fined for similar offences.
Last month, North Melbourne AFL players Cameron Zurhaar and Nick Larkey were forced to apologise for hosting a party and breaching social distancing guidelines.
On the same night as Zurhaar and Larkey's party, Geelong vice-captain Mark Blicavs also hosted at a gathering at his house, which he later apologised for.