Eagles suspend Gardiner after car crash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eagles suspend Gardiner after car crash

By Tim Clarke 18/07/2006 06:57:16 PM Comments (0)

The AFL career of troubled West Coast star Michael Gardiner looks to be over, after the club suspended him indefinitely over an alcohol-related car crash which police say could have killed him.

Gardiner was questioned, and is likely to face criminal charges, after his Holden Commodore ploughed through a road sign, catapulted a roundabout before careering into parked cars metres from the front door of a Perth residence.

Eagles CEO Trevor Nisbett said that Gardiner would more than likely never play for the club again, while also revealing the 27-year-old was receiving treatment for depression.

Gardiner escaped with just a black eye after the high speed crash in the beach-side suburb of Scarborough.

His $90,000 Commodore and the parked cars, a Holden Statesman and a Toyota Camry, were all extensively damaged.

It was the latest in a string of off-field controversies involving Gardiner, who has only been back at the club three weeks after being banished to the WAFL in February for drinking the night before a practice match.

Nisbett said although Gardiner's West Coast career was almost certainly over, the club would continue to help him off field.

"I think it is (depression) ... you would have to talk to his doctors for the label for what's going on in Michael's mind," Nisbett said.

"But certainly there are some issues we all need to deal with, and that is why we are concerned about him.

"The thing we are grateful about is no-one was hurt in the accident. Above all that, we would like to think we could help Michael with his future, with the counselling he needs to get his life back in order.

"The depressed state he is in at the present stage and has been for a little while is certainly of grave concern to us, and we want to help Michael wherever we can."

With Gardiner's $450,000 contract up at the end of this season, Nisbett said it was highly unlikely he would be re-signed by West Coast.

"I guess you could read between the lines and say it is very unlikely that the club would say to Michael 'We are going to renew your contract'," Nisbett said.

Police said earlier when they arrived at the crash site they assumed the accident had been fatal, and Gardiner was lucky to be alive.

"One of the officers did say they thought it might have been a fatal crash because of the damage, and I think Mr Gardiner is very fortunate," said WA police spokesman Sgt Graham Clifford

Gardiner contacted the Eagles to inform the club of the incident, and that alcohol was a factor.

Along with the suspension he was fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the agreement with the AFL Players Association.

"Michael informed us (alcohol) was involved but I don't know what the police has done ... that will take its course," Nisbett said.

"When you have got family members that are in trouble you like to think you can help them through it.

"At this stage we haven't been able to help Michael through it, but we are going to keep trying.

"We are going to try and help him through this. Whether he can resurrect himself and get himself on deck, Michael is the only one who can do that.

"I don't think it is just his football we need to be concerned about."

Second-placed West Coast's next AFL game is against Collingwood at Telstra Dome on Saturday.

Gardiner will be badly missed by the Eagles as their leading ruckman Dean Cox will not play for the next month as he recovers from a broken collarbone.

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