Essendon's Lovett-Murray on drug charge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Essendon's Lovett-Murray on drug charge

By Adam Cooper 04/08/2009 05:59:21 PM Comments (0)

Essendon utility Nathan Lovett-Murray has asked to undergo AFL testing in a bid to clear his name after being charged with possessing a drug of dependence.

Lovett-Murray, 26, was charged after a single ecstasy tablet was allegedly found in his home on Monday during a police search.

The raid on his home was one of 11 conducted by police in Melbourne and the regional centres of Swan Hill and Ballarat, after which five men were charged on offences including drug trafficking, possessing firearms and possessing proceeds of crime.

As one of the Bombers' most-respected players, Lovett-Murray has told his club he would vigorously contest the charge when the case went to court in October.

Essendon stressed there was a presumption of innocence and have decided to let Lovett-Murray continue to train and play before his case goes to court.

The Bombers play the Brisbane Lions on Saturday night at the MCG, a game crucial to their aspirations of reaching the finals.

"This is a serious matter and we, as a club, are treating it as such," Essendon managing director Peter Jackson said on Tuesday.

"However, there must also be a presumption of innocence and Nathan is determined to contest the charge.

"Understanding the process that has unfolded, the character of Nathan and the work he does in the community, the Essendon Football Club intends to support him in this matter and as such he will continue to train and play.

"It is now a legal matter which will run its course over the next few months."

In a press conference at Windy Hill, Jackson said Lovett-Murray had also requested he undergo AFL blood, hair and urine testing to prove he did not use drugs.

Under the wider police operation, officers seized cash, firearms and ammunition, drugs including amphetamine and steroids, and three vehicles.

Among the five men charged with trafficking offences were Lovett-Murray's brother Dane, 19, and his cousin Robby, 35.

Nathan Lovett-Murray, originally from Heywood in western Victoria, has played 94 games for the Bombers since his debut in 2004, and nine this season.

Essendon said he was also charged on a separate matter, of driving while unlicensed, because he failed to have it renewed when it expired in July.

Under the AFL's out-of-competition drug policy, had Lovett-Murray tested positive to recreational drugs he would not have been named in the first or second instance, and the only people informed would have been he and medical officers from the league and his club.

The AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) said Lovett-Murray would receive the organisation's full support.

"Nathan is entitled to the presumption of innocence," AFLPA chief executive Brendon Gale said.

"Nathan Lovett-Murray is an outstanding member of the community, whose contribution to the indigenous community in particular, has been both long term and exceptional.

"Nathan will receive the full support of the AFL Players Association in this matter."

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