Move to kick drugs out of South West footy

Do you think South West Football League players should be drug tested? Email editor.bunburymail@fairfaxmedia.com.au  Graphic: Ash Pearce and Doug Green.
Do you think South West Football League players should be drug tested? Email editor.bunburymail@fairfaxmedia.com.au Graphic: Ash Pearce and Doug Green.

PRESSURE is mounting on the South West Football League to implement drug testing across its player group. 

The Busselton Football Club is exploring the option of drug testing after a former player was charged with possession and intent to sell and supply a prohibited drug.

Ryan Pearson, who had his Busselton membership revoked last year, was allegedly found with amphetamine, tablets and a smoking implement in his home and car.

Busselton Football Club vice president Paul Dugan said the club had zero tolerance for illicit drugs but they were unsure of the legal implications of testing at this stage. 

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority conducts drug testing throughout professional and semi-professional leagues, which in WA only includes the AFL and WAFL.

But Drug Detection Agency franchise owner David Beard, a former detective who operates in Bunbury and Busselton, said if legal requirements were met he would be able to administer the testing of players.

“I’d certainly be keen to get involved and help out the sporting clubs whenever they needed assistance or testing – that’s what we’re here for,” he said.

“We can carry out hair follicle, urine and swab testing, but it’s also about educating people as well.”

South West Football League president Kevin Lynn said Busselton was yet to approach the league.

“If an issue is raised with us, we would consult with and refer the issue to the relevant authorities,” he said.

Busselton’s strong stance has been praised by South West Football League clubs.

“What Busselton is doing is the best way to go about it – we’ve made it clear to our boys that if they have involvement with any drugs they won’t be playing for the Bulldogs any longer,” Bunbury Bulldogs president Tom Busher said.

South Bunbury Football Club president Jeff Hayres said he admired Busselton’s front-foot approach.

“It’s not just sporting clubs facing this problem; it’s something everyone needs to face up to,” he said. 

But Australian Medical Association WA president Michael Gannon said testing players would achieve little to tackle the drug scourge.

“When given a choice of playing football or sating their addiction, ice addicts will almost always choose the latter,” Dr Gannon said. 

Dr Gannon said clubs should instead be investing in drug education measures for children and young teens wanting to play footy.

Have your say. Do you think South West Football League players should be drug tested? Email editor.bunburymail@fairfax media.com.au  


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