Port Adelaide have urged the AFL to ensure banned duo Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries aren’t lost to the game during their stint on the sidelines.
Ryder and Monfries are among 34 past and present Essendon players who have been handed season-long bans after being found guilty of violating anti-doping rules by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The pair were left reeling when they learned of the news on Tuesday, Port coach Ken Hinkley said.
“My number one concern is just to make sure they’re okay,” Hinkley told reporters in Adelaide.
“They woke up this morning not thinking that they were facing a 12 month suspension, I’m sure. It’s probably been at the top end of rulings as far as penalties go for them.”
Port’s football general manager Chris Davies described the bans as deeply disappointing but said the club accepted the decision.
Port are uncertain whether the duo will be allowed to play in the SANFL but it appears they will be banned from club activities until the final weeks of their bans.
“Everyone’s going to be talking about player welfare,” Davies said.
“The reality is that we need to put the services around these guys to make sure that they aren’t lost to the game totally for that period of time.”
Ryder, 27, requested a trade from Essendon at the end of 2014 and overtook Matthew Lobbe as Port’s top ruckman after a slow start to the season.
Hinkley said the acquisition of Gold Coast big man Charlie Dixon during the trade period would help the club to cover the loss of Ryder.
He said the ban had come at a particularly bad time for Monfries, who is soon to turn 29 and coming to the end of his contract.
“It’s a difficult time for Gus, and already we’ve had that honest conversation,” he said.