The Gold Coast Suns have suspended key trio Harley Bennell, Trent McKenzie and Brandon Matera for failing to adhere to team drinking rules.
Already depleted by a heavy injury list, the Suns will be without all three players against Adelaide in round six after the club’s leadership group and coaches agreed upon the suspension.
The Herald Sun has reported the players were spotted drinking on Sunday, the day after the game, despite the team agreeing to stay away from alcohol after the QClash.
Gold Coast coach Rodney Eade bemoaned the irresponsibility of his players ahead of a match his team will now enter severely undermanned.
“We had clear expectations and we are extremely disappointed and frustrated that Harley, Brandon and Trent didn’t meet these standards,” he said.
“We have been encouraged that the majority of the playing group have made progress in living the attitudes and behaviours required to be an elite AFL player and team.
“However those who don’t live by the team’s standards will be made accountable, no matter who they are.
“The actions of Harley, Brandon and Trent will leave us incredibly bare on the field this week, but this tough decision reflects the direction our club is heading and we can’t compromise that.”
Michael Rischitelli, the club’s stand-in captain while Gary Ablett continues recovery from his shoulder injury, also supported the decision to suspend the trio.
“We all understood and agreed on the standards outlined after the game and we feel let down by Harley, Brandon and Trent,” Rischitelli said.
“We expect Harley, Brandon and Trent to accept their punishment and importantly respond accordingly going forward.”