Richmond Tigers young guns Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones have broken their silence following Friday’s COVID-19 breach.
Stack 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 duo 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.
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Police were called to the incident and fined both players $800. Coleman-Jones sustained minor facial injuries and was treated in hospital.
After more than 24 hours of silence, Stack published a statement to his Instagram on Saturday afternoon.
“Hello everyone. I just want to take the opportunity to apologise for the mistake I made. I’m very sorry, understand the seriousness of it and can do nothing now but own the consequences,” Stack wrote.
“I’ve let down the AFL, the club I love, my teammates, coaches and staff, members, and the Tiger Army. I also have let down my family, my friends, and all of those who have helped me along the way.
“To those who are supporting me at the moment, a huge thanks. I only hope going forward I can rebuild trust in me again.”
Carlton veteran Eddie Betts commented on the post: “Chin up @stackman_44 we all make mistakes no one is perfect I’ve been in the same boat man got arrested for being intoxicated in Melbourne CBD, we all fall at some stage but it’s how you bounce back brother work hard gain the respect and trust back from the players coaches and fans and I guarantee you’ll come back a better player and person.”
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Coleman-Jones published a similar statement to his own Instagram.
“I would like to take the opportunity to apologise to everyone that I have affected with my actions,” the 21-year-old posted.
“I take full responsibility for what I have done and am extremely remorseful.
“I’ve let a lot of people down including the football club, the AFL, the Queensland Government, my friends and family and all the supporters/Tiger Army and the wider community.
“I realise what I did was selfish and had the potential to jeopardise the continuation of the competition being played in Queensland.
“I fully accept the consequences that have been handed to me. I’m not going to let this incident define me and will work towards earning the trust and respect of everyone back, however long it takes.”
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.
On Friday evening, Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph revealed Stack’s manager Paul Peos is worried about the 20-year-old’s mental health heading into a long off-season isolated from teammates.
“He said his player is absolutely shattered. He is disconsolate,” Ralph said.
“He is very worried about his client’s mental health over the next few months.”
The brawling duo were sent home and will miss up to five matches at the start of the 2021 season — if Richmond is eliminated early from the 2020 AFL Finals Series.
Speaking to Channel 10, Stack admitted his actions were “immature” after arriving back in Adelaide.
“I’m aware of the actions I’ve made, and I’m dealing with the consequences,” Stack said.
“It was very immature of me.”
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.