Cats' star Stokes faces lifetime ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats' star Stokes faces lifetime ban

03/02/2010 08:00:31 PM Comments (0)

Geelong AFL premiership player Mathew Stokes told police he bought one gram of cocaine for a friend, it was alleged as he faced court on charges of trafficking and possessing the drug.

The Cats star allegedly told police he bought the cocaine for $500 from nightclub bouncer Matthew Randall, one of five other men also charged after a long police operation.

If convicted of trafficking, Stokes faces a lifetime ban from football under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, to which the AFL is a signatory.

"Under the WADA code, standard penalties for trafficking range from four-year suspension to a lifetime ban," AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson told reporters.

Stokes on Wednesday appeared in Geelong Magistrates Court, which heard he received several text messages from Randall, 36, from Grovedale, in relation to the cocaine.

One message from Randall on January 20 asked him if he had "had a go yet".

The court was told Stokes, 25, replied two days later, saying a friend visiting from Darwin had a taste and "it was good shit".

Wearing a grey T-shirt, red-and-white striped shorts and thongs, Stokes bowed his head throughout the brief hearing and was granted bail by magistrate Duncan Reynolds.

There is no allegation that Stokes, who played in the Cats' 2007 premiership team, took the cocaine himself, police said.

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said Stokes was "absolutely wrecked" by the developments, but he has been stood down by the club indefinitely.

"Given the gravity of the charges the club has decided that Mathew will be stood down from all club activity as we attempt to gather all the facts of this matter," Cook said in a statement.

"This is not a rush to judgment but a reflection on the seriousness of the situation."

Stokes was charged after raids on several Geelong homes last Friday in which police seized more than $3000 in cash and drugs with an estimated value of $50,000.

Detective Acting Inspector Michael Baker said Stokes was arrested on Wednesday morning after his name came up in telephone intercepts conducted during the police operation.

Insp Baker said Stokes had assisted police.

Randall, Wassam Solieman, 34, from Hamlyn Heights, Darren Connelly, 41, from Corio, Jonathon Perisic, 24, from Geelong West and a 22-year-old Highton man were also charged following last Friday's raids, which were part of a three-month police investigation into drug trafficking around Geelong.

They face various drug charges, including trafficking, possessing and using ecstasy, cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis.

Randall and Solieman have been remanded in custody to appear in court on February 10 and March 12 respectively.

Connelly and Perisic were bailed, while the Highton man was bailed by police and has not appeared in court yet.

Stokes will reappear in Geelong Magistrates Court for a committal mention on March 12.

Darwin-born Stokes came to Geelong in 2006 from SANFL club Woodville-West Torrens.

The goal sneak was a significant part of Geelong's 2007 premiership team, but was unlucky to miss last year's grand final win over St Kilda after withdrawing from the preliminary final against Collingwood with a groin injury.

In his four years at Kardinia Park, Stokes has been a favourite with supporters, playing 71 games and kicking 108 goals.

Teammate Paul Chapman said he felt for Stokes.

"It's a massive shock," Chapman said as he arrived at training at Kardinia Park.

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