Cats boss fears Eagles drugs curse repeat

Cats boss Brian Cook


GEELONG chief Brian Cook wants the AFL to reveal when a player reaches two social drug strikes to avoid a West Coast Eagles-style drug culture from developing at the Cattery.
Cook told a Geelong Business Breakfast this week social drugs were a “huge issue, it’s a cultural issue, because culture affects everything”.
Cook said a drugs sub-culture emerged at the Eagles while he was the club’s chief executive officer in the ’90s.
He was pushing the AFL to reveal when a player had accumulated two strikes for drugs like cocaine, marijuana and ice.
Cook also wanted the AFL to tell the Cats if a player they were trading for had any drug strikes against him.
All AFL clubs receive annual drug statistics from the AFL.
“There are always two things we’re worried about: how many are on two strikes and is there anyone on our player leadership group that has a strike..
“If there is one of our leaders that might be taking drugs we would be really worried.
“The second thing is if there are multiple positive tests among certain age groups because if you get two 18-year-olds, or three or four, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s a subculture developing.
“We have to be really careful about that. That’s what happened at the (West Coast) Eagles when I was there.
“Then players in a subculture can become part of the player leadership.
“The whole issue of trading a player, not knowing how many strikes he has, is an issue.
“You can recruit players into your cub who have two strikes and you don’t even know.”
Cook said he was sure the AFL would change its three-strikes policy.
“Instead of only sanctioning players with three strikes, I think that might go to two.
“From our point of view, what is really important is that once a player has two strikes we should know.
“We don’t actually find out after two strikes. We can live with not knowing after one but after two we want to be part of the process.
“I think that will change for sure.”
Mr Cook said drug use was the top issue affecting the reputation of the AFL and its clubs.
“The public think we’re soft on drugs, people think the AFL is soft on drugs, generally.
“People get confused between the AFL policy on social drugs and high-performance drugs.
“You’re allowed three strikes on social drugs, but no strikes in high performance drugs. If you get one strike on high performance, you’re gone.”
Mr Cook said the AFL was determined to follow its welfare and education model on social drugs.
West Coast has been enveloped in an onging drugs scandal, with ex-player Dean Cox revealing that as many as 10 players used drugs during the mid-90s.
Five of 22 players from the 2006 premiership team have faced drug-related charges or been convicted of drug offences, club legend Chris Mainwarring died after a cocaine overdose in 2007 and ex-captain Ben Cousins continues battling addiction.
Geelong has had its own drug issues, with premiership player Mathew Stokes receiving a 12-month good-behaviour bond in 2010 after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine.