SHANE Mumford’s dreams of a comeback with Greater Western Sydney remain on track, but his return to the playing field will be delayed after he was heavily sanctioned by the club on Monday.
The retired big man copped a two-game ban – should he be on the GWS list as expected next year – and was fined $25,000 after a disturbing video emerged last month which showed him snorting a white powder off a table surrounded by other men.
The vision was recorded in 2015, shortly after Mumford has suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Collingwood at the MCG in June.
As part of his penalty, Mumford must also voluntarily accept a strike under the League’s illicit drugs code, take part in a program of community work focused on mental health and drug rehabilitation, and undergo his own program of drug and alcohol education and counselling.
GWS chief executive Dave Matthews said the penalties handed down to Mumford show how seriously the club has taken the incident.
“Shane is deeply remorseful and embarrassed by his behaviour from three years ago. As a club we were very disappointed in Shane’s actions and the circumstances generally,” Matthews said.
“While Shane has unquestionably been an important part of the Giants as both a player and coach in recent years, the club feels these sanctions are absolutely appropriate to ensure he fully understands the implications of his actions.
“The club will also continue to support Shane as this has clearly been a difficult time for him and his family.
“Shane has unequivocally accepted the sanctions. Some of the sanctions imposed relate to Shane potentially resuming his playing career.
“A decision on a possible return to the GIANTS playing list will be considered in the coming weeks.”
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Mumford was forced to call an end to his career at the end of the 2017 season because of a serious foot injury and was a ruck coach at the Giants this year.
He is keen to return to the AFL next season and is still expected to be signed by GWS, despite the embarrassment caused to both the club, the player and his family.
If he’s fit to play when the new season begins, the 32-year-old’s suspension means he will miss the Giants’ opening round clash with Essendon at Sydney Showground Stadium and their trip to Perth to face West Coast at Optus Stadium the following week.
One of the game’s most imposing ruckmen, Mumford played 172 games for Geelong, Sydney and the Giants over 10 seasons in the competition and won a premiership with the Swans in 2012.