An interview the AFL conducted with the woman who alleges she was indecently assaulted by Collingwood star Jordan De Goey is set to be made available to the footballer’s lawyers as he prepares to contest his criminal charge.
Mr De Goey was charged last year over an incident that allegedly happened after he, another man and a woman left a hotel in Kew in 2015, when the forward was 19 and in his first year with the Magpies.
Mr De Goey, now 24, appears set to fight the one charge of indecent assault and is due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 4 for a contest mention, when a date for a contested hearing will likely be set.
He did not appear before court on Monday when his lawyer, Tony Hargreaves, requested material including a video recording of an interview the AFL’s head of integrity, Tony Keane, did with the woman.
A five-year study has found AFL players are likely returning to play from concussion with high levels of damaged brain cells, putting them at risk of long-term harm, even though they might feel fine.
The research shows concussion effects last longer than previously thought
Some players may be returning before their brain has recovered
Researchers believe tests for a protein in the blood could determine when a player is safe to return to play
The Monash University study of concussed Aussie Rules players found on average they showed no ill symptoms after a week.
However, analysis of their blood showed their brains had released elevated levels of the protein Neurofilament light (NfL), which is evidence of damaged brain cells.
Even more worrying was that the levels of NfL had doubled a week after the concussion and tripled after two weeks, all while players’ symptoms had subsided.
Study author Stuart McDonald warned players were at risk when they played again in that state.
Former Collingwood and Brisbane player Jack Frost suffered 14 concussions in his AFL career and is painfully aware of the impacts, he suffers from memory loss and has forgotten key moments in his life.
“My partner asked me a while ago, ‘Can you remember our first date?’ and I just couldn’t recollect it,” Frost said.
The 28-year-old is sensitive to noise, finds cafes problematic, has mood swings and can’t handle any physical activity more strenuous than a light walk.
“I struggle to go to sleep, stay asleep, I wake up all the time so therefore in the mornings I wake up and feel super lethargic.”
Frost welcomed the findings of the study and said he wished he had access to the information during his 56-game career.
“It doesn’t surprise me one bit and I’ve sort of always thought it doesn’t matter how bad your head knock is, you should at least give four weeks rest because it’s just not worth it in the end,” he said.
New test could aid safer return to play
The Monash study, published in the journal Biomarker Research, carried out baseline blood testing on between 100 and 200 Melbourne University Blacks players in pre-season each year from 2017 to 2019.
The researchers then followed up with further blood tests and MRI scans for the 28 that suffered a concussion.
It found on average NfL levels were double the player’s baseline figures after one week. After a fortnight, they had increased three-fold. Players were not tested after that time.
Dr McDonald said Monash research into other sports showed elevated levels of NfL are still prevalent one month after a concussion.
“Repeated concussions can have cumulative effects and these can result in worsened and potentially long term outcomes for players who sustain repeated concussions.”
In the AFL, players who have suffered a concussion generally return to play one to two weeks after the incident.
The presence of NfL has raised concerns players are returning to play too quickly, but researchers also believe it can provide a breakthrough.
“This protein in the blood (NfL) may be able to actually indicate when the brain has recovered and therefore may be used as an objective tool to guide when it is safe to return to play.”
‘I think that it needs to be taken out of even the AFL’s hands’
After spending six years in the AFL system, Jack Frost believes decisions about whether a player is fit to return to play after a concussion shouldn’t rest with the player, the club or even the AFL.
“I think that it needs to be taken out of even the AFL’s hands. It needs to be passed on to some sort of governing body that has specialists and can treat everyone with the same tests, make them run through the same tests and make sure that they actually are OK,” he said.
“If you do that it gets rid of so much grey area from the club’s perspective, from a player’s perspective, from peer pressure, from family pressure and there’s no excuses then and there’s no hiding from it, there’s no fluffing of results.
“I think the measures that are in place to treat and manage concussion [in the AFL] aren’t where they need to be.
“They need to treat it as someone’s life, not just another injury.”
Richmond AFL player Sydney Stack is set to spend Christmas alone behind bars as a result of his alleged breach of Western Australia’s strict quarantine laws.
Stack was in WA to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but was allegedly found away from his nominated address
This breached the conditions of his entry into WA, after he had entered from SA where the border is restricted
Stack was suspended for 10-games in 2020 for breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 rules while in Queensland
Stack, who was arrested on Saturday and refused bail, is in isolation at Hakea Prison.
His case briefly returned to the Perth Magistrates Court on Monday and was heard in his absence, with his lawyer saying she had been unable to speak to the 20-year-old and therefore could not progress the matter any further.
His case was adjourned to January 6 for a further mention by videolink.
The court earlier heard that prisoners at Hakea who are alleged to have breached quarantine are required to serve a fresh 14 days isolation upon entering the remand facility.
Player manager Paul Peos said Stack, who is mourning the recent death of his grandfather, was “very distressed and very upset” during a brief phone conversation.
“I’m very worried about his short-term welfare,” Peos told reporters outside court.
“It’s been very difficult to have communications. I’ve been very disappointed. But we’ll continue to try and engage with him as best we can.”
Stack and Tigers teammate Callum Coleman-Jones broke the AFL’s return-to-play protocols during that night out, which ended up with them being involved in a fight at about 3.30am. Richmond were subsequently fined $100,000.
Peos said he was in constant communication with Richmond, adding that Stack understood the consequences of his actions and accepted his career was on the line.
“The football’s a little bit further ahead,” he said.
“We’ve got to deal with the current matters from now up until January 6.”
A spokesperson for WA’s Department of Justice said prisoners at Hakea did not have their quarantine periods reset unless they returned a positive COVID-19 test or were subject to an emergency order imposed by WA Police.
“Prisoners subject to quarantine are isolated in their cells, where they can receive meals, medical and other services, provided with the appropriate protections in place,” he said.
“They cannot receive social visits but can make telephone calls and are allowed out of their cells to exercise on their own for up to two hours a day.
“Quarantined prisoners can make video-link court appearances, done in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.”
At one of Eddie McGuire’s early annual general meetings as Collingwood president the executive was being grilled about the club’s performance by impatient fans and a well-known shareholder advocate.
Sensing the growing dissent, McGuire seized the microphone and reminded the assembled throng that there was free beer at the end of the meeting before launching into a passionate version of the club song, Good Old Collingwood Forever.
As always, McGuire knew his audience. Despite the queue of members still waiting to ask questions the lights went up and everyone headed to the bar.
The controversial statements that overshadowed the latter part of McGuire’s presidency, including his — at best — highly insensitive comments about Adam Goodes, will inevitably dominate some views of his incumbency; so too will the mere fact he came to embody the despised Collingwood Football Club.
Among McGuire’s still large band of followers, unquestioned will be the empathy the self-described boy from Broadie (the working-class Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows) had with the hopes and aspirations of Collingwood’s passionate, demanding and fiercely tribal supporters.
The AFL’s ‘Era of Eddie’ spans three distinct phases, beginning when McGuire was an eager young match-day statistician for the Melbourne Herald newspaper and then a bright-eyed sports reporter on Channel Ten.
In the late 1980s, television sports reporting was generally a matter of a desk-bound personality stealing snippets from the newspapers or the international TV feed and reading a perfunctory report from an autocue.
McGuire was one of the first to break news on air, with his close relationships with the star players of the day causing something of a shift in the established order, before the internet disrupted the news cycle completely.
It was McGuire’s news sense — with his trademark “Big week in football!” — as much as the dubious comedic stylings of John “Sam” Newman that made Nine’s The Footy Show compulsory viewing in the AFL heartland and gave McGuire considerable notoriety.
It says something of McGuire’s rising stardom that when the thumping hangover that followed Collingwood’s drought-breaking 1990 premiership prompted a descent into financial ruin, he was able to use his name to challenge the incumbents, including some fabled club legends.
This process required some ruthlessness as McGuire and his running mates forced the board aside; the first public hint the enthusiastic TV personality had the stomach for a back-room fight.
McGuire’s innate sense of the untapped commercial potential of the Collingwood throng allowed him to monetise a struggling club with top-end-of-town figures seconded to the board and a dramatic growth in membership and sponsorship revenue leading to a long period of financial prosperity.
McGuire’s great legacy will come from the period between 1998 and 2010 when Collingwood was transformed from suburban dinosaur living on past glories to prosperous AFL premier for whom the self-description “Australia’s biggest sports club” was not entirely farfetched.
Inevitably, McGuire, who as “Eddie Everywhere” retained a vast media presence, would take much of that hatred on his prominent chin with the perception his influence had grown in proportion to the club’s finances.
Certainly the Magpies’ mostly home-town fixture and other perceived benefits fuelled the feeling McGuire had gained an undue advantage for his club, while his robust statements about the operations of other clubs and the game itself made “with my media hat on” riled opposition supporters.
Although it is instructive that while McGuire is often blamed for campaigning against Sydney’s cost of living allowance, it was not until the Swans recruited Buddy Franklin from under the nose of the AFL-owned Giants — riling then-AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick — that the concession was removed.
Question marks over leadership
It is the next stage of McGuire’s presidency that is most vexed, beginning with the succession plan to replace Mick Malthouse as coach with favourite son Nathan Buckley, which was hatched in 2008.
Did the pending succession force Malthouse to discard favourite players and absorb the advice of talented assistant coaches, setting the scene for a rare premiership?
Or did Malthouse’s messy departure cost the Magpies further glory in 2011 and successive seasons?
Either way, Buckley’s early struggles as coach combined with McGuire’s continued stridency in the media — including the Goodes remarks — brought into question the club’s leadership for the first time since his ascension.
Where McGuire’s media presence had once been an asset, not least in providing commercial opportunities for his players, it has in recent times become a source of potential distraction within the club.
How could Collingwood move forward meaningfully on this issue when the same leadership embroiled in the controversy — both in its internal response to Lumumba’s complaints and in the Goodes controversy — was still running the show and even commissioning the review?
Typically, rather than any cultural issue, it was the club’s performance in the recent trade week — when a series of historic contract bungles led to a dramatic fire sale — that caused the jungle drums to start beating, with the disgruntlement felt all the way up to board level.
In some minds, the time had come when McGuire did not so much reflect Collingwood as Collingwood had come to reflect McGuire. The individual who had so intuitively embodied the club was casting a shadow over it.
This was not, as far as we know, the motivation for McGuire’s planned departure, nor does it diminish his achievements. But it was clearly the right time to announce the end of what has been by most measures an enormously successful presidency.
Hawthorn premiership player Shaun Burgoyne says the AFL showed a lack of understanding about the issues faced by Indigenous players following the league’s poor handling of vaccinations during the 2020 season.
Indigenous players and club staff were initially told they needed to get pneumococcal vaccinations ahead of their entry into Queensland
Burgoyne said the AFL had “demonstrated a lack of cultural awareness” in regard to Indigenous players
The AFL issued a second apology to Indigenous players and staff members on Tuesday
The AFL has vowed to take responsibility for all future issues relating to vaccines after Indigenous players were left hurt and distressed when the 2020 season resumed in June after the COVID-19 postponement.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan delivered a second formal apology on Tuesday after a review into the required vaccination protocol.
Burgoyne, who is the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) Indigenous Advisory Board chair, has accepted the findings of the review but pleaded for the AFL to do better.
“It was of utmost importance to the players that their concerns around this serious issue were heard and addressed, not just for players and their families, but for our Indigenous community more broadly,” Burgoyne said in an AFLPA statement.
“The handling of this situation demonstrated a lack of cultural awareness and safety by the AFL, and the players and their families were impacted as a result.
“It was done without appropriate thought, and, without appropriate consultation with our representatives, we were left without a voice.
“By ensuring that Indigenous players are central to the decisions that impact them, we are confident that we have paved a more positive future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our great game.”
The AFL initially said all players had been required to receive a flu vaccination ahead of entering Queensland for the season restart.
But AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh at the time hit out at that suggestion, saying there had not been enough information provided around the vaccine requirements.
The AFL said it should have investigated the request from the Queensland Government — and whether it had any medical basis — before detailing it to Indigenous players.
On Tuesday, Marsh added the AFL had a chance to right some wrongs from the past in making the competition a more welcoming place for Indigenous players.
“It was completely unacceptable for our Indigenous players to be discriminated against by requiring only them to be vaccinated, and this has had a deep impact on many of our Indigenous players and their families,” he said.
“I’d encourage all of us in the industry to reflect on how we can educate ourselves and get better from this experience.”
McLachlan thanked all those involved in the review, particularly the AFLPA’s Indigenous Advisory Board.
“The work has helped us identify the issue and put in place a number of initiatives to safeguard future decisions,” he said.
Adelaide Crows player Tyson Stengle has been stood down, effective immediately, over what the club is describing as an “off-field matter”.
It is the third off-field incident involving the young forward this year
He was caught with an illicit substance, and pleaded guilty to drink driving in October
Another young Crow, Josh Worrell, was yesterday fined for using his phone and drink-driving
In a statement this morning, the club said it was “aware of an off-field matter” involving Stengle who has been “stood down from all club duties effective immediately as the club ascertains all relevant details on the situation”.