Greater Western Sydney say an allegation from a member of the public prompted the club’s investigation into whether midfielder Lachie Whitfield attempted to avoid illicit drug testing.
Fairfax Media reports the AFL is considering what action to take, if any, after completing its own investigation into whether 22-year-old Whitfield stayed at the home of former welfare manager Craig Lambert in May last year in order to avoid a drug test.
Fairfax says it understands there are incriminating text messages between former No.1 draft pick Whitfield and his then girlfriend.
Whitfield, who re-signed with the Giants for a further two seasons earlier this year, as well as both Lambert and former football manager Graeme Allan would face the prospect of two-to-four-year bans if it were proven they conspired to evade or were complicit in seeking to evade a drug test.
The Giants issued a statement on Tuesday after the story broke.
“The Giants can confirm that midway through last year the club received an allegation from a member of the public that warranted investigation,” the statement said.
“The club notified the AFL and commissioned an independent investigation by a Senior Counsel based on the evidence available.
“The club has been cooperating fully with the AFL who have been conducting a separate investigation. The club is awaiting advice from the AFL to finalise the matter.”
The story broke at a bad time for the club with the Giants preparing to play their first-ever AFL finals match, against cross-town rival Sydney on Saturday week.
An AFL spokesperson said on Tuesday they didn’t know when the result of their investigation would be released.
Whitfield, the No.1 pick in the 2012 draft, is expected to be available for selection for the qualifying final against Sydney at ANZ stadium.
He has had a solid season for the Giants, playing 19 out of their 22 home and away games and averaging 20 disposals a match.
Both Allan and Lambert have since left the Giants – Allan was recently appointed football director at Collingwood and Lambert returned to work at the Brisbane Lions.