AFL player under investigation for drugs
COLLINGWOOD has confirmed Sam Murray is being investigated by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority after a post-match drugs test reportedly revealed an illicit substance in his system.
Murray has been made aware a recent sample showed elevated levels of an illicit drug, which when detected on gameday is regarded as performance-enhancing and carries the potential of a ban from playing.
Murray was named to play against Port Adelaide last weekend but was a late withdrawal for "personal reasons". Several reports indicate the sample was taken around Collingwood's round 19 game against Richmond.
Murray, 20, was selected by the Sydney Swans in the 2015 Rookie Draft but was traded to Collingwood without playing a game.
He made his debut in round one of this season and was nominated for the AFL Rising Star award after a 21-disposal game against Carlton in round three.
He has played 13 games this season, last appearing against Brisbane in round 21.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley was asked about Murray's absence at a press conference on Thursday but said he couldn't shed any more light on his circumstances.
"We're supporting Sam with what he's going through as much as we possibly can," Buckley said. "It's meant that he's had some time away from the club as well and we're looking after him as much as we can."
In an unusual twist, the AFL website published a story about Murray under journalist Damian Barrett's byline on Friday morning but later removed it.
It later published a story under the byline "staff writer" which was based on Barrett's reporting.
Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson confirmed the club had been informed Murray was under investigation.
"I would like to reinforce that Collingwood is unequivocally committed to the cause of eliminating drugs in sport," Anderson said, in a statement.
"We fully support all anti-doping policies and our athletes understand the rules in place. Collingwood has worked hard to develop a culture of professionalism and respect within its teams and we are making great progress.
"It would be inappropriate to pre-empt the outcome of the ASADA process.
"In addition to ensuring we comply fully with the ASADA process, we are also ensuring that we support Sam as a person. Whatever the outcome of the ASADA investigation, the welfare of a young man must remain a priority and we are committed to providing the support that Sam needs.
"We are not able to make any further comment until all of the facts are gathered, the investigation completed and a determination reached."