Anna Harrington and Steve Larkin
Adelaide’s Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle have been suspended by the AFL for two and four games respectively for being caught with illicit drugs.
The AFL confirmed on Saturday the pair had been found guilty of “conduct unbecoming”, following an investigation into the September incident.
The Crows players will also have a so-called first strike against them under the AFL’s drugs policy and will have to attend a drug and alcohol education course prior to next season.
“We strongly condemn this type of behaviour and Brad and Tyson have not acted in a way that reflects our values,” Crows football boss Adam Kelly said, accepting the penalties.
“They must work hard to regain the trust of their team mates and coaches, as well as our staff, members and fans.
“All players across the competition receive a great deal of education about drug use and the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy.”
Police caught Crouch and Stengle with an illicit drug, understood to be cocaine, in Adelaide’s central business district at 5.15am on September 28.
Police didn’t charge the duo, instead referring them to counselling under a drug diversion program.
In April, the Crows suspended Stengle for four games and fined him $2500 after he was caught drink-driving and driving an unregistered car.
The 21-year-old is due to answer the charges in Adelaide magistrates court later this month.
The AFL said it took that “relatively recent” incident into account when determining the length of Stengle’s suspension.
In August, Stengle signed a contract extension with the Crows until the end of the 2022 season.
Crouch, the Crows’ 2019 club champion, fell out of contract at the end of Adelaide’s season and became a restricted free agent.
While he wants to stay with Adelaide, rival clubs Geelong, Richmond and Port Adelaide are understood to be pitching offers to the 26-year-old midfielder.
The AFL’s two-game ban will travel with Crouch if he moves clubs in the off-season.
Crouch and Stengle made separate apologies on social media on October 1, with Crouch admitting he made “a big mistake”.
“I hope and trust that it does not define me. This is not who I am,” Crouch posted on Instagram.
Stengle said he had let down his family, friends, the Crows and the AFL community.
“There is no excuse for my behaviour,” he posted on Instagram.