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‘Massive blue’ brewing over COVID fine

Sydney Stack’s manager is adamant the Richmond midfielder will not pay the $37,500 handed down by the club following Friday’s COVID-19 breach.Stack and Tigers teammate Callum Coleman-Jones were banned for 10 matches after the pair broke biosecurity rules by travelling in an Uber to notorious Gold Coast nightspot Cavill Ave.The young guns were allegedly evicted…

Sydney Stack’s manager is adamant the Richmond midfielder will not pay the $37,500 handed down by the club following Friday’s COVID-19 breach.

Stack and Tigers teammate Callum Coleman-Jones were banned for 10 matches after the pair broke biosecurity rules by travelling in an Uber to notorious Gold Coast nightspot Cavill Ave.

The young guns were allegedly evicted from the Hollywood Showgirls gentleman’s club before engaging in a fight outside a kebab shop, just metres from a police station.

Police were called to the incident and fined both players $800.

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After a lightning investigation, the AFL hit the Tigers with a $75,000 penalty, and Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale said the two players would pay $37,500 each for their coronavirus breach.

But on Friday, Fox Sports reporter Tom Morris revealed Stack and Coleman-Jones could not be forced to pay the sanction unless they offered to cop the penalty. The AFL’s code of conduct reportedly prevents clubs from taking further action against players after the league has already handed down punishments.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Stack’s manager confirmed the 20-year-old would not pay the $37,500 fine.

“That’s pretty clear. Sydney won’t be paying it,” manager Paul Peos said.

Stack reportedly will earn $110,000 this year after his $158,000 annual salary as a second-year rookie draft selection was drastically reduced in the COVID agreement between the league and the AFL Players’ Association.

Therefore, if the young gun pays the five-figure fine, he will walk away with a salary of $72,500 before tax.

When asked if the AFLPA would challenge the fines, Gale conceded on SEN: “I’m not sure, they might.

“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

“At the end of the day these are mistakes and very serious mistakes, but these are young men and young men make mistakes and they aren’t feeling good about themselves right now so we need to put our arm around them and support them and we will.”

AFL journalist Damian Barrett believes a bitter dispute is erupting over who is responsible for paying the fine.

“It’s a massive blue unfolding as we speak,” Barrett told Triple M.

“I’ve spoken to Paul Marsh this morning, the head of the Player’s Association, and he said that they’re not paying it.

“It’s not in the CBA, the collective bargaining agreement, and as such the fines that were handed down by the AFL were club fines, and he as boss of those players, is not going to allow them to pay.”

The AFL’s general counsel Andrew Dillon said in an earlier statement: “It is a privilege to be able to continue our competition, and with that privilege comes responsibility. The actions of the players are not only irresponsible but disrespectful to the competition and everyone associated with it.

“There is simply no excuse for this breach. The two players knew the rules and chose to ignore them, putting the safety of everyone at risk.

“The behaviour of the players is not what we expect, regardless of whether any protocols are in place or not.”

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Stack, from Western Australia, has played nine games for Richmond this season but hasn’t featured since the round 13 clash against Essendon in Darwin on August 22. Coleman-Jones, a South Australian product, hasn’t played a senior game this season.

The brawling duo have been sent home and will also miss up to five matches at the start of the 2021 season — if Richmond is eliminated early from the 2020 AFL Finals Series.

The Tigers’ most recent fixture was against Fremantle on Wednesday night, winning by 27 points to move into the top four.

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