Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has revealed how he was ‘devastated’ to learn of an allegedly thriving drug culture at the club during his time as coach.
Thomas, who was sacked from the club in 2006, dropped the bombshell claims on the ‘Sam, Mike and Thommo’ podcast, which he hosts with Sam Newman and Mike Sheahan.
The five-year head coach elaborated on his claims on SEN Breakfast radio with Garry Lyon and Tim Watson.
“I would’ve had a suspicion of one or two, but no more than a week or so after I finish, one of the players, he told me what had actually been going on, which basically devastated me,” Thomas said on the podcast.
“He said that it (drug use) was rife — a lot of them.
“Some of the players that were mentioned could’ve dropped me.”
Thomas alleged cocaine was the drug of choice during his years as coach.
The oft-outspoken former coach said the alleged behaviour was “really disturbing.”
“I had no idea and I prided myself on how close I was and personal with every single one of the players on the list and you could’ve blown me over with a feather when I found out,” Thomas said.
“I thought I knew them but I didn’t know them that well obviously.
“It was sort of just like, what’s the big deal? It happens everywhere, and that was in 2006.
“I suppose what the guys do these days is they have some (cocaine) and it’s well accepted amongst the playing group, but it’s a bit startling to people like myself.”
AFL drug policy is designed to protect AFL brand & minimise exposure of illicit drugs. If a player is caught but cites mental health issues it is not a strike against him. Save to say there is a shitload of “mental health” issues with AFL players.
— Grant Thomas (@Thomo_Grant) February 19, 2019
Thomas also said more needed to be done by the AFL to prevent such a culture developing again.
“I’d be amazingly surprised if people have pulled their head in. You hear regularly different rumours about different players,” Thomas said.
“It’s just not reported. It’s not something the media talk about.
“I just find it really disturbing and a great concern and I don’t know that enough is being done about it.
“I suppose what the guys do these days is they have some (cocaine) and it’s well accepted amongst the playing group, but it’s a bit startling to people like myself.
“It’s not in the AFL’s best interest for that to be on record, but it is what it is.”