MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 19: St Kilda players and administration staff pose during the St Kilda team photo session at the Moorabin Ground December 19, 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas has revealed that numerous players used recreational drugs during his time at the club.

Thomas, who was coach at St Kilda for six years from 2001 to 2006, spoke on his podcast Mike & Thommo about his surprise surrounding the issue.

“I would’ve had suspicion of one or two, but no more than a week or so after I finish (with the Saints), one of the players, he told me what had actually been going on, which basically devastated me,” Thomas said on the podcast.

“He said that it (recreational drug use) was rife – a lot of them.”

Thomas spoke to SEN Breakfast to clarify his comments on the matter.

“It’s just a fact of life, it is what it is,” Thomas said.

“I had a puff of a joint at some stage while I was playing footy somewhere at a party somewhere, so I suppose cocaine is today’s marijuana back then.

“No doubt that the way the AFL approaches it is significantly different to reality unfortunately.

“I had no idea and I prided myself on how close I was and personal with every single one of the players on the list and you could’ve blown me over with a feather when I found out.

“I thought I knew them but I didn’t know them that well obviously.

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“It was sort of just like, what’s the big deal? It happens everywhere, and that was in 2006.

“I suppose what the guys do these days is they have some (cocaine) and it’s well accepted amongst the playing group, but it’s a bit startling to people like myself.

“It’s not in the AFL’s best interest for that to be on record, but it is what it is.”

Thomas also spoke about how he thought the problem had grown since his time at the Saints.

“It would have to be (worse),” he said.

“I’d be amazingly surprised if people have pulled their head in. You hear regularly different rumours about different players.

“I just find it really disturbing and a great concern and I don’t know that enough is being done about it.”