Collingwood players Lachlan Keeffe and Josh Thomas have accepted two-year bans for use of the performance-enhancing drug Clenbuterol and have been delisted by the AFL club.
The pair have also been fined $50,000 by the Magpies, in accordance with AFL and ASADA guidelines, but have been offered career lifelines, with Collingwood committing to pick them up as rookies in the national draft if they choose to nominate.
Thomas, 23, said he and Keeffe denied deliberately taking the performance-enhancing drug.
“We can only assume it occurred in a night out prior to testing, when we took illicit drugs,” he said.
“At no stage did we knowingly take Clenbuterol.”
Keeffe, 25, joined Thomas in apologising to the club, friends and family.
“We deeply regret our actions … and take full responsibility for our mistakes and we accept the consequences,” he said.
“We hope that others will learn from our mistakes.
“We hope that an error of judgment does not become a life sentence.”
The pair said they hoped to return to AFL action in 2017, when their two-year bans, the start of which was backdated to March 2015, expires.
Collingwood CEO Gary Pert said the pair had been delisted but that the Magpies had committed to redrafting them as rookies at the end of the season, if they were available.