Collingwood Director of Football, Geoff Walsh, said that the club was left with no option but to impose a suspension. “Fundamentally, a strict club protocol was broken and it was felt that such a breach couldn’t be ignored,” Walsh, said. “It’s black and white. To be out six days before a match is clearly a no-no. There is a clear mandate from the playing group, which is supported by the entire football department...”
This is the second time this season that the Pies have suspended a player for an alcohol related offence with young gun Sharrod Wellingham banned for the first two rounds of the season for drinking while injured.
Swan has been in scintillating form, averaging a remarkable 39 disposals over his last 8 games along with nine goals in just the past three rounds. Swan is a three-time best and fairest winner and not only did he win the AFL's Brownlow Medal last year but he was one of the hot favourites for this year’s award.
Swan is a vital cog in the Collingwood midfield and his ability to drift forward and sniff out a goal will be sorely missed by the Pies as they face crucial clashes with the in-form Swans and the resurgent North Melbourne Kangaroos.
The Pies have made the tough call but no doubt the right one. By suspending Swan the Pies have clearly demonstrated to the rest of the playing group that no one, not even Dane Swan, can transcend the rules or the culture that the football club is striving to build.
The culture of a football club is just as important as the players on the roster and even the number in the ‘wins’ column. The Pies may experience some short term pain over the next two weeks as they miss out on the services of their midfield maestro but that would be nothing compared to turning a blind eye and incidentally but inevitably fostering a culture and an attitude of individualism and disrespect for the team, the coach, the rules and the club.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
Adam Schoenmaker archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/adam-schoenmaker.html