The Western Bulldogs say they are taking vice-captain Lachie Hunter’s alleged drink-driving incident “very seriously” but are yet to decide on any punishment for the premiership midfielder.
The club has been plunged into crisis, as they also look into the involvement of Hunter’s teammates Bailey Smith and Billy Gowers during Thursday night’s allegedincident.
Hunter was charged with breaching COVID-19 restrictions after he allegedly crashed into four cars at Middle Park about 8.45pm.
“The incident was discussed at the Bulldogs’ scheduled board meeting today, and the club is taking the matter very seriously,” a Bulldogs statement read.
“The club will provide a statement once that investigation is complete and an appropriate response is determined.”
Police were called following reports a Toyota SUV had crashed into the parked cars on Wright Street.
When officers arrived, the Toyota was found but the driver had left the scene.
Smith was understood to have driven Hunter to Gowers’ South Yarra home.
Victoria Police on Friday said a Middle Park man was given a preliminary breath test and a subsequent evidentiary breath test, returning a reading of 0.123.
He will be charged on summons with drink driving and other traffic matters.
Police also found him in breach of the coronavirus restrictions and fined him $1652.
“We found out about the incident in the last couple of hours and we’ll obviously take the time to investigate it,” Bulldogs president Peter Gordon told SEN radio on Friday.
“Football is very prominent in people’s lives … but this isn’t the message we want to send out there.”
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan confirmed the league’s integrity unit was also investigating the incident.
“I’m not going to go into this specific case because I need to establish exactly what the facts are, but drink driving is completely unacceptable in any aspect of the community,” McLachlan told 3AW.
“As is breaching lockdown laws … these are things which are pretty cut and dried.
“I’m not going to go into discussions I’ve had but in the broader context people make mistakes and he’s made, it seems at this stage, a significant mistake here but young men do that.
“He’s vice-captain of the club, he’s a leader, but he’s clearly made a mistake here.”
Gordon said Hunter “is a good young man” and suggested he was not “dealing at all appropriately with the pressure that a lot of people are under and the circumstances in which we live”.
“But you can’t use that as an excuse.
“This is behaviour we don’t want to see and we’ll get an explanation for it, get the circumstances.
“The message we want send to people during these difficult times is you need to put extra effort into sticking to the community effort,” he said.