The Gold Coast Suns will launch an investigation into illicit drug use at the club after explosive claims made by former player Karmichael Hunt.
Hunt, 28, pleaded guilty to four counts of cocaine possession in March after doing a deal with prosecutors that saw the original, more serious, charges of supply downgraded.
Excerpts of Hunt’s written testimony provided to Queensland law enforcement as part of the deal were published by Newscorp Australia and implicate several unnamed Suns players in joining Hunt in using cocaine on an end-of-season trip.
Just hours before Gold Coast were due to play their 100th AFL match against Carlton in Melbourne, the club released a statement announcing the internal probe.
As part of that investigation the club will write to Hunt’s lawyers in a bid to obtain the statements provided to the Queensland Crime Commission that were made public in newspapers.
“(Our) 100th game is a time to celebrate, but also time to take stock of where we are as a club,” Suns chief executive Andrew Travis said in a statement.
“We do have a lot to be proud of – a great stadium, a strong relationship with the Gold Coast community, committed sponsors and passionate members who care about our club.
“We also clearly have issues we need to deal with. The club has a new CEO and a new coach this year.
“As new CEO, I am demanding higher standards and making sure we hold ourselves to account when we do not deliver on those standards.
“I will be investigating these allegations, and will provide further advice to our supporters and members as appropriate.”
Hunt, a former Brisbane Broncos NRL player, made headlines in 2009 when he announced he would switch codes to join Gold Coast.
He went on to play 44 games in four AFL seasons before announcing his retirement at the end of 2014, with a subsequent move to Rugby Union with the Queensland Reds.
The Suns have endured a wretched 2015 campaign under new coach Rodney Eade, who replaced inaugural coach Guy McKenna at the end of last season, and sat on the bottom of the AFL ladder before Sunday’s match with just one win.