McLachlan: clubs “best placed” to manage player welfare
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has distanced himself from Fremantle's handling of dumped forward Jesse Hogan, declaring individual clubs are "best placed to manage the welfare" of their players.
Speaking at The Courier-Mail's AFL Launch Lunch, McLachlan admitted he had not seen the 2016 footage of an intoxicated Hogan with his pants around his ankles but said he had been briefed on the prized recruit's recent activities and mental health concerns.
Hogan was stood down for the Dockers' Round 1 clash with North Melbourne after the club revealed his "clinical anxiety" and "poor decision (making) around alcohol consumption.
McLachlan said cases involving player welfare should be assessed individually.
"Obviously (Hogan) is having some mental health challenges and he won't be playing this week," he said.
"I think people have got a right to ask questions. I know that mental health is a big issue in our game and a lot of players have serious issues and I don't think it should be trivialised.
"I take every case on its merits and we will continue to work with the clubs to create the best environments for our players.
"What is clear is that the clubs are best placed to manage the welfare of clearly their staff but also their players.
"We think our clubs (create) great environments but we know we can do better."
McLachlan also reiterated his position on a Tasmanian AFL team, suggesting the state must rally and form a membership group if they're to put significant weight behind a future licence bid.
"I think what we've been talking to them about is a unified ticket or group who want to lead and demand a presence on the national stage," he said.
"It's small steps - we've got a statewide talent program now leading into a team back in the under 18s competition and there's an aspiration to develop a team in the VFL.
"And if people then, when the leadership comes together to represent the state, put a membership group together and come behind that, I think that's … (how they will) put real pressure on the AFL from the top."