Jeremy Howe
Jeremy Howe

The Melbourne players involved in a boozy day out at the Boxing Day Test have been cleared by the club, Demons director of sports performance Neil Craig confirmed on Wednesday.

Jeremy Howe, James Frawley and Lynden Dunn were all seen in the infamous Bay 13 area drinking and were spoken to by event security before leaving.

While it appeared they were kicked out of the MCG, Craig insisted the trio left voluntarily and were not evicted.

"We've been lucky, we've been able to take it quietly and get as much informed information and factual information that we need to make responsible decisions on that and based on the information we've got there, there won't be any form of penalty or sanctions applied to those players," Craig said on Wednesday.

"What I can report is they weren't evicted from the MCG, there was a discussion taking place with security with the suggestion they could stay in the spot or move to another area or go and they decided to leave in the end.

"It's a different connation to leaving versus being evicted, so it was important to get all the information."

Craig hopes the club can use the incident as a learning exercise to help educate the players about their social behaviour.

"It's not just a matter of those three guys learning and taking a lesson from that, you need to make sure that you use that opportunity so that the whole squad learns from it," he said.

"We certainly don't want to be in a situation where you feel like you get one opportunity to learn each year, we want to better from that.

"We certainly don't want to make our playing group isolated from the general public, we want to be an inclusive football club so we want them to be able to go out into the social life and to be seen as normal.

"But clearly there are some situations you need to think through and make good choices with."

The other off-field issue surrounding the club has been the AFL's investigation into the Demons' alleged tanking in 2009.

While the AFL has yet to conclude their probe and announce any penalties, Craig said the issue has had little effect on the playing group and their pre-season.

"In terms of the effect on the playing side and preparation side, it's been absolutely minimal negative effect on that situation," he said.

"The players' attitude to their preparation has been increased again this year to what it was last year and there's been total focus on what they want to do at this stage of their careers at this era of their footy club in pushing forward.

"Certainly the current issue of tanking has developed very minimal discussion."

Craig also said the club is likely to fight any potential penalties that may come their way and is confident they can handle the issue given their experience with off-field incidents.

"If you go back to the death of Jim Stynes and what that meant to Melbourne. You go back to the Liam Jurrah situation that this football club had to manage. If you go back to the situation where the senior coach was accused of being racist in the public arena," Craig said.

"You've got an AFL club to make a strong decision to disassociate itself with a major sponsor and still make a profit in that year.

"The leadership - CEO, president and board - I think they've been absolutely fantastic and professional and I have no doubt that the Melbourne Football Club will conduct its business in terms of the tanking situation with the same skill set we've seen with those other issues.

"That should give our supporters great confidence in the way this club is run."


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