Sam Murray has hired the same lawyer who defender Collingwood pair Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas, along with the Essendon’s players, as he aims to reduce a four-year doping ban.
Murray, allegedly tested positive to cocaine on the day of Collingwood’s Round 19 clash with the Tigers, with distinguished Melbourne barrister Ben Ihle confirming to the Herald Sun he has taken on the case.
Ihle is considered one of the best in the business, after also defending Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley who ended up receiving a 12-month ban for testing positive to methadone which he took in order to relieve back pain.
Keeffe and Thomas eventually accepted a maximum of two-years for taking clenbuterol, with experts warning Murray faces an uphill battle to reduce his maximum of four-years.
Ihle said to the Herald Sun he’s representing Murray along with Murray’s management group and the AFLPA.
“I will see him in the next couple of days and obviously he needs people around him that can support him through this tough time. We will do our best to look at what his legal rights are,” Ihle said.
It’s been reported Murray took the cocaine mid-week, possibly on Tuesday, before their huge clash with Richmond that weekend.
AFL players must sign documents which states they completely understand the ASADA guidelines which are given to them during a drug education session provided by the AFLPA.
Even if Murray believes the drugs would have been out of his system come gameday, it is not a legal defence unless he can prove he didn’t mean to take the substance.
Sports lawyer Paul Horvath said on Sunday its most likely Murray will face to face the full four-year ban.
“As a general comment I would say this kid is up against it. Whatever your sympathies are, my comment is not about sympathies, it’s about the law,’’ Horvath said.
“It is a harsh system and they are unapologetic about the system being harsh.
“It is pretty serious and makes it difficult to seek a reduction. Without knowing all the facts, in normal circumstances it is difficult to seek a reduction for taking a stimulant like cocaine on match day.”