AFL 2024: David Schwarz slams Melbourne Demons selfish choices, questions club culture, Clayton Oliver personal leave, Joel Smith drug ban, latest news

Melbourne legend David Schwarz believes “there’s something not right” at his former club amid a tumultuous period as it battles off-field issues.

It comes after a stormy couple of days at the Demons following reports Joel Smith faces a minimum two-year ban for testing positive to cocaine on match day, while Clayton Oliver has been given extended leave from the club and didn’t return to pre-season training for personal reasons.

Speaking on 3AW’s Wide World of Sports, Schwarz hit out at ‘selfish choices’ from Melbourne players and expressed concerns over the club’s culture.

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“There’s just too much smoke around Melbourne at the moment,” the 173-gamer said.

“The Joel Smith (positive drugs test), there’s been board issues and Clayton’s issues. There’s just something not right down there at Melbourne, I don’t know what it is … some of the choices Melbourne players are making are the wrong choices, for whatever reason that is.

“I’m not playing the captain, coach or the club, just looking from the outside in – there’s clearly choices being made by players that are selfish and would indicate that it is not a really happy environment at the moment.

“Because things like this don’t happen in good clubs, they just don’t. I know there’s great people at every footy club, but there’s just something missing at Melbourne at the moment and I think it’s a bit of a concern for supporters that all the news coming out is not positive.”

Schwarz had no remorse for Smith despite the reality that the 28-year old utility’s career could be over.

“I’ve got no sympathy for him. I’ve got no sympathy for any player that takes drugs on the day (of playing) or the day before and gets caught,” he added.

“He chose to do whatever he’s done. If you choose to take it and put yourself at risk, you’re going to suffer the consequences.

“If he misses four years, well his career is finished. If he misses two years, he’s still probably finished.

“I’m very black and white when it comes to drugs – if you want to play footy, no problem, you sign up to the code, the AFL is signed up to WADA and you know the obligations in front of you. We’re different, we sign up to WADA because the Australian Sports Commission put money into the AFL.

“Run the gauntlet and you’ll get caught and your career will be over.”

As for Oliver, Schwartz thinks it’s the best decision for the star midfielder to step away from a footy environment to get himself right.

“Footy clubs are a great place to be for young men, but sometimes you’ve got to walk away and deal with your own health and get yourself right,” Schwarz said.

“There’s no doubt he’s got a bit of an uphill climb … I’ve spoken to enough people around the club to understand he’s got a battle to get himself right, he’s got multiple issues he needs to deal through.

“I’m hoping, like every other Melbourne fan, Clayton can get better and he can play in 2024 in some shape or form … we’re hoping like crazy he has the right people around him and he’s getting the right help and advice.

“And that he’s working as hard as he can to get back to something he loves. Sometimes (footy is) your safe place, but I think for Clayton at the moment, that’s not his safe place, his safe place is to be away.”

Originally published as ‘Too much smoke’: Demons great slams ‘selfish choices’ as ‘something not right’

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