Didak was not in crash car, say Magpies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Didak was not in crash car, say Magpies

By Guy Hand 04/08/2008 07:50:30 PM Comments (0)

Collingwood have strenuously denied allegations controversy-magnet Alan Didak had a role in the drunken car accident that has shamed the AFL club and defender Heath Shaw.

Witnesses said Didak was at the scene of Sunday night's crash soon after Shaw crashed his utility into two parked cars following a drinking session at a nearby pub.

But Shaw, his teammates and Collingwood officials denied Didak, who was last year threatened with the sack over a night out with Melbourne CBD murderer Christopher Wayne Hudson, was in Shaw's car at the time of the crash.

"Didak will be accused of the Kennedy shooting next," Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said.

Shaw said he had simply called Didak, with whom he had been drinking, immediately after the crash, imploring him to help, and that Didak walked from the hotel to the scene.

"I rang him and then I saw him walking down and then, because there was a bit of a crowd around me, I just told him to go because I didn't really need him there at that point," Shaw said.

Collingwood skipper Scott Burns also backed Shaw's version of events - that the 22-year-old had an unnamed friend in the car rather than Didak.

"Heath has said that Alan was not in the car with him," Burns said.

"Alan was not in the car with him. He had a mate in there with him who he doesn't wish to name because he doesn't want to bring his mate into it."

Burns admitted Magpies players being seen out drinking less than a week before their season-defining clash with St Kilda was a bad look and would lead to questions of whether there was an unhealthy drinking culture at the club.

Shaw's indiscretion is the latest of a handful of alcohol-related incidents to have plagued Collingwood, whose former star Darren Millane was killed in a drink-drive accident in 1991.

In 2006, then-Magpie Chad Morrison was charged with drink-driving, and later that year teammates Ben Johnson and Chris Tarrant were involved in a alcohol-fuelled brawl outside a nightclub.

In January this year, Collingwood lost their sponsorship deal with the Transport Accident Commission after young midfielder Sharrod Wellingham was charged with drink-driving.

A clearly exasperated Burns said the decision to make Shaw face the music and play this week rather than drop him and shield him from the limelight would hopefully send a message to the Pies' younger players.

"You'd think they would understand their roles and responsibilities, but obviously they don't at times," Burns said.

"When you've got a six-day turnaround between matches and you've written yourself off ... you'd think they'd know.

"We've put things in place that we hope are not only etched on his memory from this day forward, but that the young fellas at the club now really sit up and take notice."

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