Tony Liberatore created his fair share of headlines during his stellar career, but never did anything quite as silly as his son Tom did on the weekend.

Libba senior played 283 games for Footscray and the Western Bulldogs between 1986 and 2002, mainly annoying his way through 17 years in the AFL as a scrappy tagger and a general pest.

His days as a tagger created many negative headlines, with his run in with Richmond veteran Matthew Knights in 2001 seeing the decorated Dog suspended for five weeks.

That behind the play hit on Knights may have tainted Liberatore's career somewhat, but the 1990 Brownlow Medallist never stepped out of line off the field.

Sure, there is more scrutiny and added pressure placed on young players these days, but you can be assured that Liberatore senior never did anything like his son did on the weekend.

Liberatore junior has made 33 appearances in two seasons for the Dogs and has displayed more skill and talent than his dad ever did.

This season has been a tough one for the Dogs, but the consistent performances purely on the field provided by Liberatore have been one of few shining lights.

But what he did on the early hours of Sunday morning may go on to taint his career forever.

Liberatore was found drunk on a Melbourne street and in the possession of an illegal substance, after partying too hard following a club poker night.

It is believed Liberatore was out drinking with friends that weren't associated with the Bulldogs, but what kind of mates leave a young AFL player lying on the side of a busy city road?

Surely one of his so called mates - regardless of how intoxicated they were - would have enough sense to put Liberatore in a taxi and take him away from the public spotlight.

Or even better, told Liberatore to go home at a reasonable hour so the situation was averted.

Liberatore won't be seen at the Dogs again in 2012 after the club suspended him for the final four rounds and told him not to even turn up to training.

His career can go one of two ways from here.

Liberatore may be able to put the indiscretion from the weekend behind him and go on to become a 200-gamer in the AFL like his old man.

Or he could plod through his entire career, forever regretting the night he made a simple mistake.

Many before him have learnt from bad mistakes, so let's hope Liberatore can return in 2013 as a more mature person and a better player.

And if one day he could lead the Dogs to their first premiership since 1954, all will be forgotten.


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