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Lions image not tarnished: Staker

Laine Clark 25/01/2011 06:48:32 PM Comments (0)

Despite not one but two off-field controversies, Brisbane star Brent Staker believes the Lions' image has not been tarnished ahead of the 2011 AFL season.

In what would appear to be a PR nightmare for the Lions, Albert Proud, 22, this week became the club's second player this month to be charged over an incident involving police.

The midfielder has been suspended by the club after being charged with assaulting an officer last Saturday night and will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on February 8.

It follows Brendan Fevola's latest - and much publicised - indiscretion.

The two-time Coleman Medallist is being treated for alcohol and gambling issues after taking indefinite leave following his New Year's Day arrest.

But Staker - a standout mature recruit for the Lions last season - was certain the club's brand remained strong.

"I don't think it is going to tarnish what we stand for," Staker said on Tuesday.

"Obviously people know about it but there is a team side to this and the team is very strong at the moment.

"My personal take is that the Lions brand is very strong."

Staker was adamant that the team would not be distracted ahead of the 2011 season despite the club again making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

And while he felt for Proud - who had looked to have overcome his alcohol issues - Staker said players knew the consequences if they "roll the dice".

"Yes we have had our mishaps but there has been a strong focus when we have come to train," he said.

"We have set standards and you've got to do the right thing.

"If you drop below that standard this is where you can end up.

"For Albert I am sure he is quite upset with himself, but you've got to suffer the consequences if you are going to roll the dice."

Under the microscope at the best of times, Fevola has come under intense scrutiny since undergoing treatment.

But Staker said Fevola appeared to be coping well despite the Lions having no idea when - or if - the star forward would return.

"When you are high profile that's (media scrutiny) the side of things that sucks," he said.

"It can get annoying after a while but I think he is handling it pretty well.

"We have been sending him messages and making sure he is okay.

"He is doing well and that's what matters most - he has to get his health right."

While the experienced Staker tried to put on a brave front, Lions 2010 Rookie of the Year Tom Rockliff couldn't hide his disappointment over the latest mishap.

"Over the pre-season we have set pretty high standards and to have a couple of lapses is pretty disappointing," the 20-year-old said.

"Obviously it is a bit of a distraction but we touched on them (player standards) again on Monday and have moved on."

In some welcomed good news, Xavier Clarke's recovery from a serious knee injury has been fast-tracked after being deemed suitable for ligament replacement (LARS) surgery.

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