Former Melbourne star David Schwarz says that he would be shocked if a player was tempted to take performance-enhancing drugs should the AFL reduce interchange rotations.
Earlier today, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said that a further reduction to the interchange cap could see players look for illegal ways to keep up – including taking performance-enhancing substances.
"When the AFL brought in the limitations on the interchange, the first thing I said at the presidents' meeting was you're going to drive people into looking at taking EPO," McGuire said on Southern Cross Austereo.
"When I said that everyone went nuts, but it seems night follows day, so that was always a big issue.
"I don't think it's happened, but I still think you've got to be careful when you're driving athletes into a position where they have to think about (how they can get fitter when there's nowhere else to go)."
Schwarz says that he disagrees with McGuire’s view and that players will just work harder to ensure they can still compete.
“It’s just like, ‘I can’t run as fast as Anthony Koutoufides, so I’m going to have to take gear.’ No, you work harder,” he said on SEN’s The Run Home.
“’I can’t jump as high as Shaun Smith.’ Does that mean I’m going to take drugs? Of course it’s not. ‘My tongue’s hanging out because I can’t keep up.’ Well, have a bigger pre-season.
“Why does everyone revert to the easy way out?
“Drugs don’t necessarily mean that you’re going to gain that sort of advantage. There is no quick fix to this.”
Schwarz said any reduction of the interchange cap from its current figure (90) would affect all players, not just one.
“I would have thought that if you cap interchange then not one player – or half the players tire – all of them tire and you tire at the same rate,” he said.
“It’s those that work hard in the off-season and those who are willing to bust their gut like a Robert Harvey, or the Craig Bradleys and the Johnny Plattens.
“Those players will be rewarded as they are willing to go through the pain barrier.”