ADELAIDE duo Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle have both been suspended by the AFL and will subsequently miss the start of the 2021 season.
Crouch, who is still deciding whether he exercises his free agency rights and departs the Crows in the coming months, will miss the first two games of the 2021 campaign. Stengle, meanwhile, has been suspended for four matches.
Despite speculation to the contrary, Crouch's punishment will need to be served at his new club should he leave Adelaide during this year's free agency period. Geelong is among those believed to be most interested in his services.
Stengle was handed a larger punishment given he was also suspended for four matches earlier this year, after he was stopped by police for driving an unregistered vehicle and recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.125.
In the latest incident, Crouch and Stengle were stopped by South Australian police on September 28 and were found to be in possession of an illicit substance. Both players will also receive a strike under the AFL's Illicit Drugs Policy as a result of the League's investigation.
"The AFL investigated the matter and has determined Stengle will be suspended for the first four matches of the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, while Crouch will be suspended for the first two matches," the League said in a statement on Saturday.
"Both players will be required to attend a Drug and Alcohol Education Course prior to the commencement of the 2021 Season; and both players’ conduct constitutes a notifiable adverse finding under the AFL’s Illicit Drugs Policy.
"The players have committed a breach of AFL Rule 2.3(a); A Person must not engage in conduct which is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL or to bring the game of football into disrepute.
"Stengle received four matches due to a breach of the AFL Return to Play protocols in April, where he was suspended for four matches and fined $2500 and whilst the present matter is of a different nature, the AFL took account of a relatively recent incident of serious misconduct on his behalf in considering the applicable sanction in this matter."
Adelaide said in a statement that it had worked closely with the AFL and the AFL Players' Association during the investigation, but it "[did] not have grounds to determine, nor enforce, its own penalty".
Crows head of football Adam Kelly reiterated that the club condemned the actions of both players.
"Brad and Tyson have not acted in a way that reflects our values," Kelly said.
"They must work hard to regain the trust of their teammates and coaches, as well as our staff, members and fans.
"All players across the competition receive a great deal of education about drug use and the AFL's Illicit Drug Policy."