Fremantle Dockers tagger Ryan Crowley has been handed down a 12 month ban by the AFL Anti-Doping tribunal, after last year returning a positive match day test to a banned substance.
Crowley returned the positive test results following the Dockers Round 17 match last year against the Greater Western Sydney Giants. The substance was believed to have been contained within a painkiller that was not prescribed by the Fremantle medical staff.
After Crowley was issued with a show-cause notice by ASADA in September, he voluntarily began a provisional suspension. Tribunal proceedings concluded recently, with the panel today handing down its verdict of a 12 month ban. Due to the provisional suspension Crowley had been serving, the sentence is backdated to the start of that period, meaning he has already served 8 months of it, and will remain suspended until September 24th of this year.
If Fremantle qualify for this year’s AFL Grand Final, Crowley would theoretically be able to be selected for it, albeit without any match practice for the year under his belt.
Club President Steve Harris expressed his disappointment in Crowley’s lack of judgment on the error, but nonetheless vowed to stand by the player.
“We are extremely disappointed that a senior player well versed in our medical protocols, and with the benefit of regular information and education sessions on AFL policies, would make such a poor choice instead of consulting our club doctors. Having said that, no one is more disappointed with the situation than Ryan. It has been a very stressful time for him, and the sanction means that he can’t be considered for selection at any level until the last few weeks of the 2015 finals series.”
“Now the matter has been dealt with by the tribunal, our focus, as it has been since the club was first advised last year, will continue to be our duty of care for Ryan as a respected and valued member of our team. As we would with any player on our list, we will continue to support and help Ryan.”
Crowley himself was extremely dark on himself for the error, and the jeopardy that it has placed not only his own career in, but the structure and stability of the team writ large.
“I am deeply remorseful and disappointed with the mistake that I made last year. I genuinely never intentionally meant to do the wrong thing. In the 13 years I have been playing for Fremantle I have never wanted to jeopardise my career and position at the club, or let any of my team mates or fans down. And for that I hope you will accept my deepest and sincerest apology.”
“I respect the decision of the tribunal and I look forward, hopefully, to playing for the Fremantle Football Club once again.”
The Dockers, for their part, have been managing just fine without the 31 year-old thus far in 2015. They currently sit a game clear atop the AFL ladder, and are the current bookmakers favourite to take out the AFL Premiership.
Crowley’s long term player future with the club will be decided at the end of the year when the team undertakes normal list management decision making.
Photo: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images.