Illicit drug tests net six AFL players - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Illicit drug tests net six AFL players

By Guy Hand 22/06/2011 04:10:09 PM Comments (0)

Almost all AFL players have been tested for recreational drugs over the past two years, and fewer than ever are testing positive.

Six AFL players returned positive tests last year to cocaine, amphetamines or cannabis, the league revealed on Wednesday.

One player is now on his second strike under the league's "three strikes" illicit drugs policy, while former Hawthorn player Travis Tuck was one of the positive tests during the period.

Tuck became the first player suspended under the policy last year and has since been delisted by the Hawks.

Under the "three strikes" policy, the identities of players who test positive to party drugs are kept private until their third transgression.

AFL football operations boss Adrian Anderson said the results - a big drop on the 14 positive tests recorded in 2009 - showed the league's policy of testing players out of competition for illicit substances was working.

And he said the vast majority of players in the competition would have been tested at least once over a two-year period, lending further credence to the results.

"I think they're nearly all covered and we've been doing a hair testing trial where those tests also result in compulsory testing and education," Anderson said.

"Just about every player within a two-year period at least could expect to be tested.

"But what we're careful to do is not just adopt a purely random approach, (we) try to be targeted.

"It's been an incredibly successful policy in changing player behaviour."

Anderson admitted no system was perfect, but believed players would struggle to beat the drug-testing net with more than 1600 tests carried out last year.

The rate of failed tests has dropped from more than four per cent in 2005 to 0.36 per cent in 2010.

The players' union said the drop in positive tests to recreational drugs meant it was unlikely to withdraw support for the policy when the issue came up for renegotiation.

But as the illicit drug policy results were being released, the AFL's separate testing regime for performance-enhancing substances came under fire from Collingwood star Dane Swan.

He was woken at 6am for his third drug test in the space of a week as the league ramps up its testing for EPO and human growth hormone.

Swan was upset at the early morning hounding from drug testers at his home - and twice last week during Collingwood's mini-training camp in the United States.

"I don't mind getting drug tested. I don't have a problem with it but I don't know what the difference is between six o'clock and say nine o'clock," Swan told Melbourne radio station SEN.

"If someone knocks on the door at six o'clock next time, I won't answer. I'll wait until it's time to get up."

Anderson said the multiple testing was done to build "blood profiles" of players and the surprise element was important to maintain the competition's integrity.

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