Collingwood have been handed a $20,000 fine by the AFL over Jeremy Howe and Jordan DeGoey's use of their phones in the looker room during round five.
Both players had been injured during Collingwood's Friday night loss to the West Coast Eagles, DeGoey through concussion and Howe after a hamstring complaint.
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After returning to the rooms midway through the game, the pair each retrieved their phones from a box in which every player's phones are kept during the match, as part of anti-gambling measures enacted by the AFL.
Only designated club staffer are allowed to handle phones while the game is being played, with the Magpies asked to explain the incident in the days afterwards.
Collingwood will foot the bill for the fines, which will reportedly not count against the soft salary cap, after Buckley defended DeGoey for retrieving the phones.
"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.
"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."
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said clubs were regularly educated about the league's rules surrounding phones.
"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," Dillon said.
"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.
"The AFL would also like to acknowledge Collingwood’s cooperation with its inquiries in relation to this matter and remind all clubs of their responsibility to ensure the proper process and procedure is followed on match day and phones remain secure."
Rowell on track for AFL mid-season return
Gold Coast are hoping to have young midfield star Matt Rowell back from injury for the Suns' round-14 AFL clash with Port Adelaide.
Rowell's injury-plagued start to his career continued when he suffered a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament in the Suns' opening-round defeat to West Coast.
For the first time Gold Coast on Tuesday updated Rowell's timeline for his return from indefinite to eight weeks.
The former No.1 draft pick was expected to again take the competition by storm after shoulder surgery curtailed a brilliant five-game stint last year.
Rowell was in Brownlow Medal contention before hurting himself against Geelong in round-five last year, abruptly ending what shaped as one of the best debut seasons in history.
The 19-year-old is the most prominent name on a long injury list for the Suns.
Predicted by many to finally jump up the ladder this season, Gold Coast slumped to a 1-4 record after being smashed by the Western Bulldogs last Saturday.
The Suns' big-man stocks have taken a battering, but veteran ruck Zac Smith is listed as one-to-two weeks away from returning.
Defenders Charlie Ballard and Sean Lemmens are in line to return for Saturday's clash with Sydney after the pair were injured during the round-four loss to Carlton.
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