The Guardian Australia
AFL club Collingwood hit with $20,000 fine for players’ in-game phone use
Collingwood have been hit with a $20,000 fine after injured Magpies Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe were caught breaking AFL rules by using their phones during a game.
The club had received a “please explain” after De Goey picked up two phones and gave one to Howe when the pair were in the change rooms during Friday night’s loss to West Coast.
AFL rules bar players from using their phones during games due to integrity concerns, with only 10 people per club allowed to access them. Despite the players’ error, the club is expected to foot the bill rather than make De Goey and Howe pay for it.
After an investigation in which De Goey and Howe were found to have contacted family members about their injuries, the AFL came down hard on the Magpies.
“The rules, which have been in place for a long time to protect the integrity of our code, clearly state no mobile phone usage during the match. It is a rule that clubs and players have been educated about and reminded of every year,” AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said.
“Each club has authorised device users each match day that are there, in part, for the very reason the players used their phones – to contact family members if required. The players know this, the clubs know this and we must adhere to this very simple but important rule to continue to protect the integrity of the game.
“The AFL would also like to acknowledge Collingwood’s cooperation with its inquiries and remind all clubs of their responsibility.”
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley
claimed De Goey did not deliberately break the rules but was simply “not thinking straight”. The dynamic forward will miss at least 12 days to comply with the AFL’s concussion protocols and sit out the Anzac Day clash with Essendon.
“The bloke we’re talking about who grabbed the phones had just been omitted from the game for concussion,” Buckley told Fox Footy’s AFL 360. “We’re understaffed at the moment after Covid [job cuts] so most of our [staff] were hands on deck.
“We had a couple of injured players and the bloke that grabbed the phones wasn’t deemed well enough to continue playing a game of footy due to a knock to the head.”
The 27-point defeat to the Eagles at Optus Stadium left Collingwood at 1-4 with pressure mounting on Buckley, who is in his 10th season as coach. One of the greatest players in the club’s history, Buckley said he was determined to lead the Magpies out of their current predicament.
“I have a great passion for the club, I have a great passion for helping young men make their way through it, and we’ve been challenged quite a bit on and off the field as an organisation,” Buckley said. “You look at our win-loss right now, we’re 1-4; I’m accountable to that, I take responsibility to that, but I also don’t think it’s dire.”