Richmond players Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones have been suspended for 10 matches, and will be sent home from Queensland, following a breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

The AFL has also imposed a fine of $75,000 for the protocol breach, which the two players will pay. The Club will also pay a $25,000 fine that was suspended from a protocol breach earlier in the season.  

Stack, 20, and Coleman-Jones, 21, were intoxicated and broke protocols by catching an Uber from the Club’s Gold Coast hub and attending a venue in Surfers Paradise early on Friday morning. These actions contravene AFL COVID-19 protocols. The AFL was made aware of the breach as soon as it was discovered on Friday morning.  

With a three-day break in their training program, the players had been drinking alcohol at a Club and AFL-sanctioned event at the hub. The pair chose to continue drinking at the completion of the function in their rooms before going out and attending a venue.

The players were subsequently involved in an altercation outside a Surfers Paradise take-away food outlet. Coleman-Jones sustained minor facial injuries and was treated in hospital. Stack was taken into custody by Queensland Police, but no charges were laid.

Both players returned to the Club separately, and since the Club was made aware of the breach, the players have been quarantining separately in their rooms.

Richmond CEO, Brendon Gale said he was incredibly disappointed in the pair.

“Richmond – like all Clubs - has a responsibility to the game, and the broader AFL community, to observe the COVID-19 protocols that the AFL has put in place. Clearly Callum and Sydney did not meet that responsibility this week, and we are incredibly disappointed,” Gale said.

“The Club can’t ignore the fact that off-field we have got some things wrong in recent months. We need to own that as a Club and get better. We all accept that this has been a difficult year, but it is no excuse for some of the mistakes we have made.

“These players made very poor decisions after consuming too much alcohol, choosing to leave the Club’s hub in the early hours of Friday morning, and in doing so potentially putting themselves, their teammates and the AFL season at risk.

“Their decision to attend a venue while outside the hub was also completely unacceptable, and in no way aligns with what we stand for as a Club. They have let down themselves, teammates, our members and supporters, our partners and the entire AFL industry.

“Yes, young people can make mistakes, but we expect better. There is absolutely no excuse for what took place. We do however recognise we need to support and educate them. They have learned a very hard lesson and we need to help them earn back the trust and respect of the Club.

“Both players are extremely remorseful and apologise for their actions. That apology extends to the Queensland Government and Police who have far more significant matters to attend to in these difficult times.

“We are a strong, successful Club and we will work hard to deliver a Club that meets community expectations and makes our members and supporters proud.”