AFL Players Association boss Paul Marsh has reacted angrily to a report alleging up to 11 Collingwood players tested positive to illicit drugs in the off-season.
The explosive claims were revealed by News Corp on Thursday evening just before the AFL season got underway at the MCG.
“It would be good if there was some respect for what we’re trying to achieve here,” Marsh told 3AW.
“It’s predictable that some people are going to be taking a stab at how many players may be testing positive.
“This new policy was agreed to late last year, it hasn’t even taken affect yet. Give it a chance.”
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire responded to the report on Fox Footy and said that the club’s hands were tied when it came to the AFL’s illicit drugs policy that guarantees player confidentiality.
“It’s a question without any basis in fact, but as far as I know it could well be the truth because we don’t find out,” McGuire said.
We get piecemeal information. We’re speaking to the AFL in the next couple of weeks about the hair-testing results but until the clubs have actually got some control over it there’s no point talking to the clubs.
“Its an AFL and AFL Players Association matter.”
The Magpies have pushed for changes to the policy in the past, urging the AFL to allow clubs access to testing information so they may better safeguard the health and well being of their players.
Collingwood duo Josh Thomas and Lachie Keeffe are currently serving bans for taking illicit drugs laced with clenbuterol, a banned substance under the WADA code.
North Melbourne forward Shaun Higgins admitted he was surprised that players would choose to run the gauntlet with illicit drugs given what happened to the banned pair.
“To put yourself in that position and then the scare through the whole footy world with the two Collingwood players … hopefully that made a lot of players realise (the dangers),” Higgins said.
“(But) if players put themselves in that position, then further education needs to take place.”