Talia was close to playing: Swans coach

Sydney AFL coach John Longmire says Michael Talia two weeks away from a long-awaited playing return before being arrested and charged with drug possession.

Talia was stood down by the club until his court appearance on August 17 after allegedly being caught with a bag containing cocaine at the weekend.

The 23-year-old defender has not played at all since injuring his foot in round one.

Longmire backed the club’s decision to stand down the former Western Bulldog, though he’d not had a chance to speak properly with him personally.

“People make mistakes,” Longmire said.

“Michael was coming back from injury and getting ready to play again in a couple of weeks, so it’s disappointing that he put himself in that situation.

“I’ve got to move past that disappointment really quickly and focus on Carlton this week.

“My role as coach has been to focus the players back on playing Carlton as quickly as we can.”

Talia is due to face Waverley Local Court on August 17, after which the AFL will make a decision with the club on any consequences.

If the charge is proved, it will count as a strike under the league’s revised two-strikes illicit drugs policy.

Longmire emphasised that both Talia and his family would continue to receive support from the Swans throughout the process.

“He’s got people at the football club who have spoken to him a number of times, whether it’s through with welfare or other services,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of people speak to Michael and his family, particularly in the last 24-48 hours.”

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