Carlton recruit Elijah Hollands has been handed a two-match ban by the AFL for breaching the league’s illicit drugs policy.
Hollands was also hit with a suspended $5000 fine after pleading guilty to cocaine possession last month.
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The league confirmed on Thursday afternoon that Hollands will be suspended for the first two matches of 2024 – against Brisbane and Richmond – and won’t be able to play in the VFL during that period either.
“The AFL confirms Carlton player Elijah Hollands has been found guilty of conduct unbecoming in breach of the AFL Rules and has been suspended for two AFL matches,” a league statement read.
“Hollands’ conduct was previously investigated by Queensland Police resulting in him being charged and sanctioned with a 2-month good behaviour bond and ordered to complete a drug diversion course, which Hollands has since completed.
“The AFL now considers this matter finalised.”
AFL general counsel Stephen Meade added: “AFL players are well-educated when it comes to the harms associated with the use of illicit substances, and have a responsibility to themselves, their clubs and their careers to uphold community expectations.”
Elijah Hollands outside the Southport Magistrates Court. Credit: AAP
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in Southport Magistrates Courtlast month after being caught with the drug at The Star in Broadbeach on September 3.
Security guards found Hollands’ wallet in the toilets, containing his ID cards and less than a gram of white powder inside.
His lawyer told the court his offending had come while his mother was at “death’s door” from illness.
The drugs were seized by police and Hollands was interviewed by officers, before being charged.
He was slapped with a two-month good behaviour bond and ordered to attend a drug education session, but avoided having a conviction recorded.
“I’d like thank the magistrate for their time this morning,” Hollands said outside court.
“I made a mistake that I’m extremely remorseful for.
“It’s not only impacted me, but my family as well.
“I’d like to thank both the Carlton footy club and the Gold Coast Suns for their continued support over the last few weeks. Thank you.”
His defence lawyer Darren Mahony said while not an excuse, Hollands’ offending has occurred as his mother is seriously ill and is now “at death’s door”.
“Sometimes a young man with otherwise exemplary character, a good family and a bright future does something foolish,” Mahony said.
“And that’s what’s happened here with Mr Hollands.
“Other members of his family are prominent sportsmen, so to be facing this charge is embarrassing to him. He feels as though he’s let himself down, his family down and also his respective clubs.”
Hollands’ charge was made public on October 19 — the day after Gold Coast traded him to the Blues.
Carlton revealed it knew about the charge when they recruited him.
“The club was notified last month by Hollands, who was a Gold Coast Suns player at the time, given its existing interest in bringing him to the football club,” the club said in a statement.
“An informed decision was then made to proceed with the recruitment, and the club will now provide the necessary support to Hollands.”
Hollands, the No.7 pick from the 2020 national draft, played just 14 games for Gold Coast and was keen to join his younger brother Ollie at the Blues.
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