One year for Crowley, eligible for finals

Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley has received a 12-month suspension, backdated, after testing positive to a “specified substance” last year.

Crowley will be eligible to play again on September 24 this year, having already served eight months of the ban.

That makes Crowley available for selection for the preliminary final and Grand Final, if the Dockers make it.

Crowley is allowed to resume training two months before his ban ends.

“I am deeply remorseful and disappointed with the mistake that I made last year,” Crowley said.

“I genuinely never intentionally meant to do the wrong thing.

“In the 13 years I have been playing for Fremantle I have never wanted to jeopardise my career and position at the club, or let any of my team mates or fans down. And for that I hope you will accept my deepest and sincerest apology.

“I want to thank [Fremantle coach] Ross Lyon, the club, in particular [Fremantle General Manager Football Operations] Chris Bond, the AFLPA [AFL Players’ Association] and [AFLPA CEO] Paul Marsh, my Freo team-mates, and all who are involved at Fremantle for your unconditional support.

“To the Freo fans, I have been overwhelmed by the level of support you have shown me.

“Thank you for every card, every letter and message. They have not gone unnoticed and I cannot have been any prouder in representing you over the years.”

In March, Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich revealed the substance in question was in a painkiller that was not prescribed by anyone at the club.

Crowley’s case was heard by the AFL anti-doping tribunal on May 18.

Dockers president Steve Harris said despite the club’s disappointment, it had a duty of care for the 188-match Fremantle veteran.

“We are extremely disappointed that a senior player well versed in our medical protocols, and with the benefit of regular information and education sessions on AFL policies, would make such a poor choice instead of consulting our club doctors,” Harris said in a statement.

“Having said that, no one is more disappointed with the situation than Ryan. It has been a very stressful time for him, and the sanction means that he can’t be considered for selection at any level until the last few weeks of the 2015 finals series.”

Crowley added that he hopes to play for the club again.

“I respect the decision of the tribunal and I look forward, hopefully, to playing for the Fremantle Football Club once again,” he said.

The 31-year-old is off contract at the end of the season but the club said it would not make a call on his future in Fremantle until the season was over.


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