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Fine drop leaves the Gold Coast Suns with hangover

SEVENTIES-style beards may be back in vogue with league footballers, but not that decade's drinking habits.

A great tweet doing the rounds yesterday suggested Essendon had retrospectively suspended Paul Vander Haar for 185 matches for drinking on the night before games.

The "Flying Dutchman" was as renowned for having a beer (or three) prior to matches as he was for taking a big hanger for the Bombers.

It's folklore that he had to be picked up from a prominent Melbourne bar on a Saturday morning and taken straight to the MCG - before playing another blinder at centre half-forward.

To say times have changed a little in the decades since is an understatement.

Footballers from the lawless '70s and early '80s, such as Vander Haar, must have a quiet chuckle when they hear about current players being suspended because they've had a glass (or two) of red wine on the eve of a match to help them sleep.

But they'd probably also realise the likes of Charlie Dixon and Jack Martin shouldn't even be taking a whiff of alcohol right now in the current climate on the Gold Coast.

We've all been guilty of raiding a hotel mini-bar from time to time, as the pair did in Launceston last Friday night - boys will be boys. But it's clearly time for many of the Suns to start acting like responsible young men who actually care about their careers and the reputation of their club, and respect their club coach and fellow players.

The Suns' culture has been taking as big a battering off the field as their injury-hit team has been receiving on the field.

The club had just gotten over the embarrassment of having to suspend four players for drinking when they shouldn't have been, when in came the hotel bill showing the consumption of two bottles of wine.

With the Suns' playing group having put a booze ban in place until their round-12 bye, both Dixon and Martin have been stood down for a week.

In this age of professionalism it's just amazing how they could be so unprofessional, especially with the spotlight so heavily placed on the Suns.

No doubt senior coach Rodney Eade would not have known the extent of how much he needed to teach his players when he signed on last year. Game plans to 20-somethings are one thing - discipline and preparation another.

One of the GWS Giants' most important recruits when the club formed was not Jeremy Cameron or Dylan Shiel, but Craig Lambert as football and welfare manager.

Giants players rave about the good wholesome influence the former Brisbane Lion - and his family - has had on them, and they've hardly put a foot wrong.



JUNE 2011 Harley Bennell dropped for returning late from Perth and missing training.

SEPTEMBER 2011 Campbell Brown and Maverick Weller detained by police after a scuffle in a Thailand bar.

DECEMBER 2011 Danny Stanley is charged by police with traffic obsTruction, and later suspended by club for four weeks - cut to two.

Rex Liddy and Nathan Krakouer walk out on the club due to homesickness.  

Nathan Bock is charged with breaching the AFL's betting code and suspended for two matches.  

MAY 2013
Recovering from a broken leg, Nathan Bock is investigated by the AFL over use of a banned substance.

DECEMBER 2013 Campbell Brown is sacked after end-of-season stoush with teammate Steven May outside an LA nightclub.

MARCH 2015 Karmichael Hunt pleads guilty to possessing cocaine while still a Suns player in September 2014. Fined $2500.

APRIL 2015 Tim Sumner quits the club to return home to South Australia.   Andrew Boston is stood down for not meeting physical requirements of AFL football.

MAY 2015 Trent McKenzie, Brandon Matera, Harley Bennell and Danny Stanley are suspended for breaking the club's no-alcohol rule.

JUNE 2015 Charlie Dixon and Jack Martin are suspended for drinking wine on match eve.  

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