Secret AFL and West Coast Eagles drug report revealed

A report detailing how West Coast Eagles ‘covered up’ the players’ illicit drug use has been revealed after being kept secret for nine years.

In 2008, retired Victorian judge William Gillard QC conducted an investigation into the sport and found the culture of the West Coast Eagles club was ‘based on success, arrogance and a belief what the players did in their own time was their own business’.

Just one day after Ben Cousins appeared in court on drug charges, the 87-page report was released by the Herald Sun, and claimed the AFL star told club officials he had ‘experimented with most drugs but was on top of the issue’.

The findings also detailed Chad Fletcher’s 2006 brush with death after ‘flat-lining’ in Las Vegas and claims midfielder Daniel Kerr stole a script from the club doctor to forge a prescription for 50 Valium pills.

A shocking report detailing how West Coast Eagles 'covered up' the players' illicit drug use has been revealed, including how Ben Cousins (pictured in January) told the club he had 'experimented with most drugs but was on top of it'

A shocking report detailing how West Coast Eagles ‘covered up’ the players’ illicit drug use has been revealed, including how Ben Cousins (pictured in January) told the club he had ‘experimented with most drugs but was on top of it’

The findings also detailed Chad Fletcher’s (pictured right with his partner Line Larson in 2005) brush with death after ‘flat-lining’ in Las Vegas and claims midfielder Daniel Kerr (pictured left with his partner Melanie Cousins in 2006) stole a script from the club doctor

Chad Fletcher

The report detailed a shocking 2006 incident in Las Vegas involving former West Coast midfielder Chad Fletcher.

Fletcher ‘apparently collapsed’ outside the MGM Grand after being to a nightclub while on the club’s end-of-season trip to the United States.

Mr Gillard’s report claims the midfielder spent four days in hospital and allegedly ‘flat lined,’ according to the club.

Fletcher denied he had taken any drugs before the hospitalisation and it is not suggested any were taken.

According to Mr Gillard’s report, there were about 19 players and five club officials on the trip and although he interviewed a number of people, finding out what happened ‘has not been easy’.

‘Chad Fletcher himself says he has no real memory of what occurred,’ the report said. ‘He denied that he was taking any drugs’.

‘The official approach by the club is that they do not know what caused the illness and Fletcher will not produce his medical records’.

The report detailed a shocking 2006 incident in Las Vegas involving former West Coast midfielder Chad Fletcher (pictured arriving at a training session in 2007)

The report detailed a shocking 2006 incident in Las Vegas involving former West Coast midfielder Chad Fletcher (pictured arriving at a training session in 2007)

Fletcher (right) 'apparently collapsed' outside the MGM Grand after being to a nightclub, during the post-season trip to the United States

Fletcher (right) ‘apparently collapsed’ outside the MGM Grand after being to a nightclub, during the post-season trip to the United States

Mr Gillard’s report claims Fletcher (pictured playing for the club in 2009 and 2005) spent four days in hospital and allegedly ‘flat lined,’ according to the club

Ben Cousins

Mr Gillard interviewed 47 people as part of his investigation and the report heavily focused on Cousins’ time with the club.

The former West Coast captain was suspended on March 20, 2007 after he turned up late to training in an ‘unfit state’.

‘It is apparent to me from my investigation that there was drug taking involving some West Coast Eagles players going back over some years,’ Mr Williams wrote in the report.

‘In the early years the drug of choice was marijuana, but later years the rumours concerned the use of stimulant drugs such as cocaine and the range of amphetamines, namely speed, ice and ecstasy’.

Mr Gillard said Cousins was questioned by club officials and told them he was ‘no saint’ and had ‘experimented with most drugs,’ but was ‘on top of the issue’.

Cousins, who won the Brownlow Medal in 2005, was let go from the club in October 2007 after being allegedly in possession of a Valium tablet when pulled over by police.

The former player spent a month in jail ahead of his court appearance on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to to 11 offences, including aggravated stalking, breaching a violence restraining order and drug possession.

Cousins was arrested in October with an alleged eight grams of meth and told officers he had a high tolerance.

Mr Gillard interviewed 47 people as part of his investigation and the report heavily focused on Cousins' (pictured being escorted by police from Curtin House in 2007) time with the club.

Mr Gillard interviewed 47 people as part of his investigation and the report heavily focused on Cousins’ (pictured being escorted by police from Curtin House in 2007) time with the club.

Mr Gillard said Cousins was questioned by club officials and told them he was 'no saint' and had 'experimented with most drugs,' but was 'on top of the issue'. He is pictured outside Perth Magistrates Court in 2012 after being arrested on drug charges

Mr Gillard said Cousins was questioned by club officials and told them he was ‘no saint’ and had ‘experimented with most drugs,’ but was ‘on top of the issue’. He is pictured outside Perth Magistrates Court in 2012 after being arrested on drug charges

The former player (pictured with Chris Judd in 2004) spent a month in jail ahead of his court appearance on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to to 11 offences

The former player (pictured with Chris Judd in 2004) spent a month in jail ahead of his court appearance on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to to 11 offences

Daniel Kerr

Mr Gillard described Kerr’s conduct during his time at the club as ‘appalling’ and said he ‘apparently does not learn from his court appearances’.

‘The penalties which were imposed and the club by failing to suspend him at the beginning of 2007 sent out the wrong message to him and his fellow players,’ Mr Gillard wrote.

The report said Kerr forged a prescription for 50 Valium pills in 2004 and took it to a pharmacy.

The script was stolen from the club doctor Rod Moore.

Kerr was charged in October 2004 and fined $400 and Mr Gillard said the misconduct was initially dealt with by CEO Trevor Nisbitt.

‘The problem was basically dealt with on a counselling approach, although later I was informed Kerr was fined $5000 by the club,’ the report said.

Mr Gillard described the fine as a ‘slap on the wrist,’ but noted it was the maximum penalty under the Code of Conduct.

‘He should have been suspended and the club should have taken steps to bring home to the players illicit drug taking would not be tolerated,’ he said.

‘An attempt to use a forged prescription tends to show it was not for the purpose of acquiring Valium for dealing with a disorder,’ he wrote.

In February 2007, Kerr pleaded guilty to assaulting a taxi driver and was fined $10,000 by the club.

Kerr retired from the AFL in October 2013 after spending his entire career with West Coast.

Mr Gillard described Kerr's (pictured with his partner Melanie Cousins in 2006) conduct during his time at the club as 'appalling' and said he 'apparently does not learn from his court appearances'

Mr Gillard described Kerr’s (pictured with his partner Melanie Cousins in 2006) conduct during his time at the club as ‘appalling’ and said he ‘apparently does not learn from his court appearances’

The report said Kerr forged a prescription for 50 Valium pills in 2004 and took it to a pharmacy

Kerr was charged in October 2004 and fined $400 and Mr Gillard said the misconduct was initially dealt with by CEO Trevor Nisbitt

Kerr was charged in October 2004 and fined $400 and Mr Gillard said the misconduct was initially dealt with by CEO Trevor Nisbitt

The culture of the club

In his findings, Mr Gillard said the misconduct from the West Coast players between 2001 and 2007 was the ‘worst of any club in the AFL’.

‘There is little doubt that by the end of 2003 there was a culture at the club which gave rise to the scheduled conduct,’ the report read.

‘The culture could be described as the view held by players and the club, that if they were successful on the field, what they did outside the club was of little consequence and was in their own private time.

‘[The culture] was based on success, arrogance, a belief that what the players did in their own time was their own business and a failure by the club to properly punish players in a way that acted as a deterrent’.

In the report, Mr Gillard said the club did not help with the notion that by penalising the players for misconduct, they would be deterred from behaving the same way in the future.

‘The younger more impressionable players were influenced into thinking that what they did off the field was of little importance and if they were caught the club would take steps to protect itself as well as the player,’ the report said.

Mr Gillard said the West Coast Eagles club did not ‘take a stand’ on the drug use until the Drugs Policy came into effect in 2005.

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