St Kilder legend Nick Reoldt says the AFL and its players’ union could “do more as an industry” to help former players fight off the field in the wake of Sam Fisher’s drug trafficking allegations.
Fisher, a former St. and Reynolds teammate who played 228 games for the club, has been accused of smuggling large quantities of illicit drugs across Australia after police raided his Melbourne home.
Police allege the 39-year-old man was behind a large package of drugs seized in Western Australia last month.
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Talking about Fisher’s problem, Reeldt admitted that he knew his former teammates had been fighting off the field for some time.
“A lot of his close teammates knew he had some problems, but to this extent, once everything was opened up last week, I think many of us were surprised at how bad the situation got,” Reoldt told Fox Footy. .
“But it got heavier, and obviously you found yourself in a situation where Sam and he found yourself, and his family and the people around him, and what else could you do?”
“A reflection of our group, the time we spent together as teammates. It was a pretty tough week for all these blocks.”
The former Saints captain said he and several former teammates helped as much as possible before accusing Fisher.
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“There are a lot of Sam’s teammates who have done as much as possible, including me, and some have gone to great lengths with conversations with family and friends,” he added.
“As a team we did as much as we could for Sam, but at a time like this, you really understand that you are out of your depth as a teammate, when a player Sam faces that kind of challenge.
“I understand that these questions will come about us and our group and leadership and all sorts of things like that, but knowing you put your head on the pillow you did as much as you could.”
Fisher retired from the AFL in late 2016. Highlights of his career include the 2008 All-Australian election and two Best and Fair Awards for Saints.
While not seeking sympathy, Rioldt said players’ unions could do more to help athletes transition from life after football.
“It’s not a pity for the players. Because the players are paid really well, they get all these opportunities as they go through the game,” he said.
“But somewhere along the line, it’s not working, because that shouldn’t be the case with a lot of players finding themselves in a career after that. And we can do a lot more as an industry.
“I think the AFLPA in particular needs to make this cause a champion and take the lead in preventing this from happening.”
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