Collingwood has been hit with a $20,000 fine in the wake of players Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe accessing their phones midway through last Friday night’s match against West Coast in Perth.
- TV footage showed De Goey picking up two phones and giving one to Howe in the change rooms
- The AFL says mobile phone usage in the change rooms during matches is not permitted by anyone who is not an authorised device carrier
- Magpies coach Nathan Buckley says De Goey’s actions may have resulted from the concussion he suffered during the match
The AFL handed the Magpies the sanction this afternoon, having determined the incident was a breach of the league’s integrity rules banning the use and possession of communication devices during matches.
The Magpies pair left the ground injured during the match and headed for treatment in the change rooms, with De Goey captured on a TV camera picking up two phones and giving one to Howe.
The AFL released a statement saying it acknowledged both players “used their phones to contact family members and/or club staff on the status of their in-game injuries”.
But it said the rules “clearly state” mobile phone usage was not permitted in the change rooms “by anyone who is not an authorised device carrier”.
Each club is required to submit their 10 authorised device carriers to the AFL before every match.
Mobile phone use is restricted to those 10 people, plus media staff.
“The rules, which have been in place for a long time to protect the integrity of our code, clearly state no mobile phone usage during the match. It is a rule that clubs and players have been educated about and reminded of every year,” AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said in the league’s statement.
“Each club has authorised device users each match day that are there, in part, for the very reason the players used their phones — to contact family members if required. The players know this, the clubs know this, and we must adhere to this very simple but important rule to continue to protect the integrity of the game.”
Collingwood released a statement describing the breach as “innocent” but said it accepted and understood the penalty.
Speaking before the announcement of the sanction, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said De Goey, who was concussed against the Eagles, did not deliberately break the rules but was simply “not thinking straight”.
“The bloke we’re talking about who grabbed the phones had just been omitted from the game for concussion,” Buckley told Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Monday night.
“We’re understaffed at the moment after COVID [job cuts] so most of our [staff] were hands on deck.
“We had a couple of injured players and the bloke that grabbed the phones wasn’t deemed well enough to continue playing a game of footy due to a knock to the head.”