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'Embarrassed' Swans AFLW players given two-game ban

Sydney Swans AFLW players Alexia Hamilton and Paige Sheppard have been suspended for two games after being caught with illicit drugs at a hotel last year.

Alexia Hamilton of the Swans is tackled by Danielle Ponter of the Crows during the AFLW Semi-Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans at Norwood Oval in Adelaide, Saturday, November 18, 2023. Image AAP

Sydney AFLW players Alexia Hamilton and Paige Sheppard have been suspended for two matches after being charged with being in possession of an illicit substance.

Hamilton and Sheppard have both accepted the sanctions and on Tuesday apologised for their behaviour while at a hotel in Sydney's eastern suburbs last December.

The incident happened after the Swans' AFLW season had ended with a semi-final thumping from Adelaide on November 18.

News of the pair being charged and facing court only came to light on Monday night via a media report.

"I am extremely embarrassed and apologetic for my actions, and the position I have put my family, friends and teammates in," Hamilton said.

"I understand I have significantly broken trust, and I apologise to our members, fans and club partners for that."

Sydney's Paige Sheppard has been suspended for two matches over illegal drugs.

Sheppard added she made a "bad error" and would work hard to earn back respect from teammates.

Both players have already appeared in court, where they received a reprimand.

Sydney say they notified the AFL Integrity Unit "as soon" as they became aware of the situation.

"Our football club has standards of behaviour that we expect all our people to live up to," Swans chief executive Tom Harley said.

"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."

Unlike the men's competition, the AFLW does not have a three-strikes drugs policy, so no adverse finding will be registered against either player.

The situation is different to that of suspended Melbourne player Joel Smith, who has been provisionally suspended since October after testing positive for cocaine after a game last August.

"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 AFLW players will be part of any future policy."


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