Talia still on the outer at Swans in AFL

Sydney defender Michael Talia will be forced to wait a little longer for a chance to resurrect his AFL career.

Talia avoided conviction on Thursday after pleading guilty to drug possession.

The 23-year-old, who was handed a 12-month good behaviour bond at Sydney’s Waverley Local Court, has been stood down from all club activities since being caught on July 17 with cocaine.

Football manager Tom Harley says the time frame for the punishment is indefinite.

“That remains the case, such is the severity of this situation,” Harley said.

“It’s clearly disappointing and concerning to have one of our players in this position.

“But Michael is a Swans player and we will continue to support him from both a welfare and education perspective.

“As a club, we will now sit down with Michael and discuss our next steps, in terms of how and when he might return to training.”

The AFL released a statement on Thursday night, noting the league “has been supportive of how they (Sydney) have dealt with this matter”.

Talia, who was traded to the Swans last year by the Western Bulldogs, is unlikely to play this year at AFL level.

The Swans are third on the ladder, having banked 13 wins from the opening 19 rounds.

Talia, who spent the first half of the season recovering from a serious foot injury, was stopped by police outside a nightclub in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Court documents showed he initially told officers “it wasn’t mine” after he was found with a small bag of cocaine.

“From a club’s point of view, we’ve now got the facts, which we stated we were keen to unearth a couple of weeks ago,” Harley said outside court.

“As a footy club, we’re obviously disappointed to be here today in support of Michael.”

Talia, speaking alongside Harley, said he was “very disappointed” in his actions.

“I’m looking forward to learning from this experience and hopefully putting it all behind me,” he said.

The AFL confirmed Talia had been given a strike under the league’s illicit drugs policy.

A player is issued a suspended $5000 fine and must attend counselling and education programs after his first strike.

A second detection results in a four-match ban and $5000 fine, while a third is punished with a 12-match suspension and $10,000 fine.

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