Sydney Swans AFLW players Alexia Hamilton and Paige Sheppard suspended after drug scandal

Samantha RogersThe West Australian
VideoThe Sydney Swans star has lifted the lid on an unlikely source for his premeditated move.

The two Sydney AFLW players who admitted to possession of an illicit substance have been suspended by the AFL.

Alexia Hamilton, 23, and Paige Sheppard, 22, were found guilty of conduct unbecoming and will miss two matches.

The pair were charged by police in December 2023 after being caught with cocaine while outside a hotel in Sydney.

Both received a reprimand after appearing in court.

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The AFL confirmed the club had notified the AFL Integrity Unit when it became aware of the matter late last year. Both players were interviewed and admitted to possession of an illicit substance.

They were found to have breached rule 2.3 (a) by engaging in “in conduct which is unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the AFL or to bring the game of football into disrepute.”

AFLW players are not currently subject to the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy framework but are drug tested under the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code.

Hamilton and Sheppard have not tested positive for any prohibited substance under that code.

Paige Sheppard.
Camera IconPaige Sheppard. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

“AFLW players, in fact all players are well-educated when it comes to the harms associated with the use of illicit substances,” AFL General Counsel Stephen Meade said in a statement.

“While Alexia and Paige have been extremely remorseful and apologetic for their actions, they have a responsibility to themselves, their clubs, and their professional careers to uphold community expectations.

“Our review, in collaboration with the AFLPA, of the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy continues. The AFL’s expectation is that that AFLW players will be part of any future policy. In these circumstances, both players have been dealt with under the AFL Rules and the accountability both publicly and privately is appropriate.”

The Swans released their own statement a short time later, revealing the players had accepted the two-match ban and said both players had expressed “deep remorse”. Both players offered apologies for their actions.

“I would like to express my remorse and apologise to the Sydney Swans family, my teammates, family and friends for making this mistake,” Sheppard said.

“I am fully aware I have made a bad error of judgement and will be working hard to earn back the respect of my teammates.”

Alexia Hamilton.
Camera IconAlexia Hamilton. Credit: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos

Hamilton added: “I am extremely embarrassed and apologetic for my actions, and the position I have put my family, friends and teammates in. I understand I have significantly broken trust, and I apologise to our members, fans and club partners for that. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

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