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Sydney Swans AFLW players Paige Sheppard and Alexia Hamilton learn fate after being caught with drugs

The teammates have faced court and also been banned by the AFL.
Shayne HopeBy Shayne Hope

AFLW players caught with drugs

Two Sydney Swans AFLW players have been handed conditional release orders after being charged by police late last year for possessing an illicit substance.

Paige Sheppard and Alexia Hamilton were caught in December and faced court in January, escaping without a conviction.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: AFLW players learn fate after being caught with drugs.

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The Swans’ AFLW season had ended with a semi-final thumping from Adelaide on November 18.

The AFL on Tuesday confirmed the players had been found guilty of conduct unbecoming and suspended for two AFLW matches.

Both players apologised to the club, teammates and fans for their actions.

Sydney Swans players Paige Sheppard and Lexi Hamilton.
Sydney Swans players Paige Sheppard and Lexi Hamilton. Credit: Getty

Paige Sheppard said: “I would like to express my remorse and apologise to the Sydney Swans family, my teammates, family and friends for making this mistake. I am fully aware I have made a bad error of judgement and will be working hard to earn back the respect of my teammates.”

Lexi Hamilton said: “I am extremely embarrassed and apologetic for my actions, and the position I have put my family, friends and teammates in. I understand I have significantly broken trust, and I apologise to our members, fans and club partners for that. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Sydney CEO Tom Harley was extremely disappointed by the players.

“Our football club has standards of behaviour that we expect all our people to live up to. This behaviour has fallen short of those standards, which is disappointing, and we are supportive of the AFL sanctions as we believe they are appropriate,” Harley said.

“All Sydney Swans players are educated about the impacts of drug use, so to have players in this position is also disappointing from a health and wellbeing perspective.

“Both Lexi and Paige understand their position as role models in the community. They have both cooperated fully with the club and the AFL throughout this matter and have shown contrition through their actions. We are working with both from a welfare and education perspective to ensure they receive the necessary support.”

AFLW players are not currently subject to the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy framework, so no notifiable adverse finding will be registered against either player.

“AFLW players, in fact all players are well-educated when it comes to the harms associated with the use of illicit substances,” AFL general counsel Stephen Meade said.

“While Alexia and Paige have been extremely remorseful and apologetic for their actions, they have a responsibility to themselves, their clubs, and their professional careers to uphold community expectations.

“Our review, in collaboration with the AFLPA, of the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy continues. The AFL’s expectation is that that AFLW players will be part of any future policy. In these circumstances, both players have been dealt with under the AFL Rules and the accountability both publicly and privately is appropriate.”

In the men’s competition, then Collingwood forward Jack Ginnivan copped a strike under the illicit drugs policy early last year and was suspended for two matches after admitting to drug use.

Ginnivan, who has since moved to Hawthorn, was also handed a $5000 suspended fine after vision emerged of him with a substance.

Western Bulldogs midfielder Bailey Smith also copped a strike and two-match ban in similar circumstances in 2022, after being filmed with a bag of white powder.

Melbourne player Joel Smith’s case is treated differently, because he tested positive for cocaine on game day.

Smith has been provisionally suspended since October after his positive test following the Demons’ win over Hawthorn in round 20 last season.

- with 7NEWS

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