Giants coach backs under-pressure star

Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron is confident Lachie Whitfield’s finals performances won’t be affected by an ongoing AFL investigation.

The midfielder is alleged to have spent a night last year at club welfare manager Craig Lambert’s house for fear of being drug tested at his own home, with the knowledge of then football chief Graeme Allan.

Avoiding ASADA drug testers carries heavy penalties for players found guilty, but Cameron said Whitfield and the rest of his squad were handling the situation well before Saturday’s qualifying final against Sydney.

“I said during the week it’s not ideal,” Cameron told Triple M on Saturday.

“But it hasn’t affected our training at all. You look at it and there’s no doubt at any footy club you’re going to get around a player that has an issue and … our players have responded that way.

“But Lachie’s training’s actually been … just exceptional. I don’t think it’s going to affect him – I’m really confident.

“We’d be silly not to weigh all that up but I’m really confident that he’ll spit out the end of next week’s training and play for us next Saturday.”

ASADA announced on Friday the investigation was back in the AFL integrity unit’s hands following a league briefing.

“On 1 September, the AFL’s Integrity Department briefed ASADA on their investigation into the conduct of a current listed player of the GWS Giants Football Club and two former members of staff of that club,” an ASADA statement read.

“A copy of the investigator’s report was provided to ASADA at that meeting.

“The matter remains with the AFL for the next steps to be determined and the AFL will now seek legal opinion on this matter.

“ASADA will be consulted once this process is complete.”

Lambert has since moved on to a similar role at Brisbane, while Allan was recently appointed general manager of football at Collingwood.

With the progress of their lengthy investigation having been ticked off by ASADA, the AFL will look to bring a swift conclusion to the matter.

“ASADA is satisfied that the next steps remain with the AFL,” a league statement read.

“The AFL will seek further legal opinion before consulting again with ASADA.”

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