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Cornes slams AFL’s ‘rampant’ drug issue

Cornes slams AFL’s ‘rampant’ drug issue thumbnail

Former Port Adelaide premiership player turned media personality Kane Cornes has hit out at the AFL and the contentious drug policy.The program which was brought into the AFL in the early 2000s sees players given three strikes if they return a positive test.A player will receive a $5000 fine for a first strike before they’re…

Former Port Adelaide premiership player turned media personality Kane Cornes has hit out at the AFL and the contentious drug policy.

The program which was brought into the AFL in the early 2000s sees players given three strikes if they return a positive test.

A player will receive a $5000 fine for a first strike before they’re named publicly and suspended for four matches on a second strike. A third strike results in a 12-match suspension.

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But after former Hawthorn player Jonathan Hey came forward and revealed his drug addiction during his playing days, Cornes took aim at the policy on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show.

“The AFL’s illicit drugs policy just does not work. This year alone we’ve seen feature stories on Ben Cousins, former Melbourne player Brock McLean and in today’s Herald Sun former Hawthorn All Australian Jonathan Hey, who described himself as a full blown drug addict who abused various drugs including ice in his playing days,” Cornes said.

“This paragraph here, it makes for staggering reading: I got a couple of strikes, but they were confidential. I didn’t get tested a great deal on game day which was fortunate. I got tested quite a bit during training and morphine and valium doesn’t show up.

“Now, while the AFL has since tightened the restrictions and the parameters around the illicit drugs policy since those days, it is not enough.

“There is no doubt that there are current day players still abusing this policy that does protect the anonymity of players. I get the feeling that in five, 10 years time there is going to be a current day player that will be the next Brock McLean or the next Jonathan Hay that are come out, tell their story about how drugs ruined their life and we will have learnt absolutely nothing.

“My message to the AFL and the AFL Players Association, by extension the player, they must do more to stamp out this illicit drug use that is clearly rampant still in the game.”

As Cornes expanded on the ways the policy is designed to work, he turned to AFL newsbreaker Damian Barrett who dropped a bombshell about how it’s set up.

Kane Cornes: Damo, I know you have been following this from its inception, which was around the early 2000s, 2004, 2005, and you’ve covered it closely and

still to this day apart from Travis Tuck no-one has been publicly named from this policy.

Damian Barrett: It was never set up to catch anyone. The club doctor …

K.C: Sorry, you skimmed over that pretty quickly. Just say that again. It was never set up to catch anyone.

D.B: In terms of exposing that person in public. I had a real strong view on that. I still do. Blew I’ve also learnt there is education attached to it and welfare attached to it which is equally important. A club doctor, Kane, on the very week it was launched rang me and said that it’s not set up to ever, ever have this person made public. As such, I think the working backwards from it, it meant it has not worked at its optimum to your point where players now are coming out telling stories. If it is Brock McLean and Jonathan Hay you can be guaranteed there are many more choosing not to tell stories of a similar nature.

Hay detailed the unbelievable extent of his drug use that even saw him walk into the club’s doctors office and go through the medical cupboards taking whatever he wanted.

“Hawthorn had a cabinet in the doctor’s room and it was full of valium and sleeping tablets and I could walk in there and it was never locked. I don’t blame Hawthorn but I would go in and help myself to whatever I wanted. My drug use was daily,” Hay revealed.

The revelation floored Sunday Footy Show host Tony Jones.

“I think one of the most staggering things in this article, we spoke about it prior to the show, is the fact the Hawthorn medical room was open and he just walked in and helped himself into the Hawthorn medical room,” Jones said.

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