Eletiofe'Richmond people at the moment': Covid breach duo's future...

‘Richmond people at the moment’: Covid breach duo’s future uncertain, says coach


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  • Doubts hang over futures of Stack and Coleman-Jones

  • Damien Hardwick says players have support for now

Callum Coleman-Jones

Callum Coleman-Jones’s future with Richmond is in doubt after he and Sydney Stack breached Covid rules.
Photograph: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has refused to guarantee the futures of disgraced AFL pair Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones after the pair’s serious Covid-19 protocol breaches.

Stack and Coleman-Jones were removed from the Tigers’ Queensland hub after visiting a strip club and becoming involved in a drunken brawl early last Friday morning. They each received a 10-game suspension while Richmond were fined $100,000 for their second bubble breach.

“We’re incredibly disappointed with the actions and there’s no doubt about that but we’re also concerned about the individual,” Hardwick said. “These two players are like family to us, so we’ll always look after them – but they’ve also got to understand the repercussions of their actions.

“Accountability and responsibility is a big one in today’s society and the players, in fairness, have accepted that. We’ll deal with those players. They’re Richmond people at the moment – we’ll continue to support them as best we can and continue to do what we do.”

When pressed on whether the phrase “Richmond people at the moment” indicated the careers of Stack and Coleman-Jones were in jeopardy, Hardwick said those decisions would be determined “in due course”. Both players are contracted until the end of the 2021 season.

“They’re very good players,” Hardwick said. “We’re disappointed in the action so we don’t want to sit there and make assertions of what it’s going to look like moving forward.

“It was probably a bad choice of terminology by me, they’re Richmond men at the moment. I shouldn’t say at the moment. They’re Richmond men. So look, we’ll support them as best we can.”

Hardwick said chief executive Brendon Gale had been on a phone hook-up with the AFL Players’ Association on Wednesday morning regarding whether Stack and Coleman-Jones would pay the $75,000 portion of the club’s fine relating to their breaches.

The Richmond coach expected Gale and the players’ managers to work through that situation, but was uncertain whether the hit to next year’s soft cap would cost a staffer their job. Hardwick said it was now on the Tigers to rebuild their “tarnished” reputation.

“Respect is very hard to earn but it’s easy to lose and we’ve probably lost a bit at the moment, we understand that, but the important thing for us is we’ve got to continue to re-build our reputation,” he said. “It’s been tarnished… and it’s our job as an organisation to… put our best foot forward moving in the right direction.”

Hardwick was confident the situation would not affect the Tigers against Geelong on Friday but said the “proof will be in the pudding”.

Dylan Grimes (hamstring) and Kane Lambert (hip) are available to face the Cats while David Astbury (knee) is likely to participate in a scrimmage this week. Hardwick was confident Dion Prestia had “turned the corner” with his prolonged recovery from an ankle injury, with the midfielder aiming to return in the finals.

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