Richmond pair Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones have been sent home and suspended into next season after Friday morning’s brawl outside a strip club.
The Tigers have been fined $100,000 (including $25,000 suspended from a previous breach) which will go onto next year’s soft cap, with Stack and Coleman-Jones suspended 10 matches and sent home to Victoria.
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale will address the media this evening. Read the full AFL statement below.
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The pair’s incident took place at around 3.30am outside the Hollywood Showgirls strip club on the Gold Coast, close to a nearby kebab shop. They took an Uber to get to the venue.
The Courier Mail reported the duo were evicted from the club before the brawl erupted metres from a police station. Officers were called.
CCTV footage has since emerged of the incident from the kebab shop.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for the pair to be banished from the state.
“AFL players caught breaking COVID rules should be sent home. Queensland won’t tolerate it. I know the AFL takes these issues seriously and will take appropriate action,” she tweeted.
The incident was a clear breach of AFL COVID-19 protocols for players or coaches to attend bars, restaurants or other confined public spaces.
On Friday Queensland Police released a statement confirming they arrested two men – aged 20 and 21 – following a disturbance in Surfers Paradise.
“Around 3.30am, officers responded to reports of two men, aged 20 and 21, involved in a physical altercation on Orchid Avenue,” the statement read.
“Both men sustained facial injuries as a result of the incident.
“The men were both issued with a Police Banning Notice, excluding them from Gold Coast Safe Night Precincts and a Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN) for Public Nuisance (Violent Behaviour).
“Further investigations are continuing into the matter.”
Friday’s incident was the Tigers’ second breach since the AFL introduced strict return to play protocols in July, following Brooke Cotchin’s day spa trip.
Stack has played nine senior games this year, while Coleman-Jones hasn’t featured in 2020 but played one match in 2019.
The AFL released its updated protocols on July 31, stipulating the financial penalties for first and second breaches.
A third breach would see the AFL Commission have the power to impose any sanction it sees fit on a discretionary basis. It could lead to loss of draft picks, premiership points and even bigger financial sanctions.
“This strict regime is important for the AFL and the AFL Clubs to protect the health and safety of the community and to maintain the AFL’s social licence to continue the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” The AFL’s media release read in late July.
Richmond is one of 12 clubs which has committed a breach in 2020, but the only club to face a secondary fine.
The AFL confirms Richmond players Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones will be suspended for 10 matches and sent home from Queensland, after breaching the AFL’s return to play protocols.
Stack and Coleman-Jones breached the protocols after taking an Uber, visiting a non-approved Gold Coast venue and becoming involved in an incident that involved Queensland Police. Stack was detained by police and released a short time after.
The AFL, in conjunction with the club, investigated the matter and has determined that Stack and Coleman-Jones be immediately sent home and suspended for 10 matches, a suspension that will stretch across both the remainder of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season, Finals and the start of the 2021 season.
Richmond have a BYE in Round 16, meaning the 10-match suspension will begin in Round 17.
The suspension will be served across Round 17, 18, the 2020 Finals Series, then dependent on how many matches Richmond play in this year’s finals series, the remaining matches to be served from Round 1 of the 2021 Season.
Richmond Football Club have been fined $100,000 for the breach – $75,000 for this breach and a further $25,000 that was the suspended amount from a previous breach.
$100,000 will be included in Richmond’s 2021 Soft Cap.
Both players have been isolated since returning to the Richmond HPC early this morning.
Stack and Coleman-Jones cleared 14-day quarantine in July. They are not part of the current quarantine hub where AFL officials, and players and family members are undertaking the required 14-day quarantine period.
AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said the AFL’s protocols are the competition’s license to play and any breach would be held into account.
“It is a privilege to be able to continue our competition, and with that privilege comes responsibility. The actions of the players are not only irresponsible but disrespectful to the competition and everyone associated with it.” Mr Dillon said.
“There is simply no excuse for this breach. The two players knew the rules and chose to ignore them, putting the safety of everyone at risk.”
“The behaviour of the players is not what we expect, regardless of whether any protocols are in place or not.”