Star Fremantle Football Club midfielder Ryan Crowley has tested positive to a banned substance, following a positive test result last July.

The midfielder, often regarded as one of the toughest taggers in the AFL, has begun a provisional suspension after being issued with a Show Cause notice by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, following revelations that he returned a positive test result after the Dockers win against the Greater Western Sydney Giants in Round 17 of last year.

The club revealed that Crowley had actually begun serving a provisional suspension back on the 25th of September of last year. The club itself was made aware of a potential issue with a sample back in September, with board members alerted in October. The identity of the player involved was, at least allegedly, only revealed to club management earlier today. But despite this assertion, official statements from the club – issued as late as last week – do indicate at least partial awareness of the issues surrounding the player, who did not play in either of Fremantle’s two pre-season games, against Melbourne and Sydney respectively, and has been noticeably absent from Fremantle training sessions in recent weeks.

The banned substance was apparently contained within a painkiller that was not prescribed by the club doctor. Though Crowley had been dealing with back issues, the club did not confirm whether the painkiller he took was in relation to this.

Crowley himself fronted media to give a statement.

“I would like to thank my partner Samara, my family and the club for their support over the past few months. It has been invaluable. I have my own legal advisers working on the matter and they have also been a great support. I will continue to fully cooperate on this matter with ASADA and the AFL. At this stage, I’m looking forward to AFL Tribunal hearing taking place.”

The case will now proceed to the AFL Tribunal to determine what, if any, punishment is necessary. Previous recent cases involving the AFL and ASADA include St Kilda small forward Ahmed Saad who served an 18 month ban after testing positive to a banned substance contained in an energy supplement, before being rookie listed by the club again earlier this year, and the much publicised Essendon supplements saga, which is due for tribunal ruling on March 31st.

Crowley, at 31 years old, now faces some tough decisions about his playing future, but remained adamant that his desire is to play on.

Photo: Paul Kane via Getty Images.