DOWN BUT NOT OUT
AUSSIE RULES: Former and current Gympie Cats players were disappointed yesterday at the ripple effect caused by Gympie AFL talent Lachlan Keeffe's positive drug test.
The young Collingwood star joined teammate Josh Thomas in fronting the media on Monday as each accepted two-year bans for taking the banned drug clenbuterol.
Cats co-captain Cody Andrews said he did not see why Keeffe would not be able to return to top grade AFL if he was committed enough.
"I am sure he would be kicking himself about it," he said. "He got picked for his athletic ability and if they want him again they will re-sign him."
Keeffe and Thomas had been thrown under the bus and were frowned upon because they played at such a high level, but drugs were becoming more prominent in society these days, Andrews said.
Assistant coach Hugh Stewart was not so sure about Keefe's future as he said many clubs no longer tolerated that sort of behaviour.
"He made a stupid mistake but we have seen some players make comebacks before, but I would say people are sick of hearing about it (drugs) at this level," he said.
Stewart said he threw away a golden opportunity as not many players progressed to that level and Keeffe had squandered an opportunity.
"It is not good for the game and young people looking up to those players," he said.
"It is disappointing when it happens in a sport you play and especially such a success story."
He said mistakes like that caused a ripple effect on your family and community.
Stewart said he supposed the temptation was always there and it came down to self discipline.
Cats stalwart Bill Mitchell agreed with Andrews that drugs were becoming more of a problem in society in general and it was just due to their status that there had been more hype surrounding this incident.
He said although he did not know Keeffe well, after listening to the Collingwood players it sounded like he was a determined player and hoped he could get back in the game.
Although, like Stewart, Mitchell was disappointed but he respected the way Keeffe handled the situation and chose not to lie his way out of it.
"They made a mistake but owned up to it," he said.