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“This doesn’t happen”: Cornes responds to Gawn’s defence of Dees’ culture


Kane Cornes couldn’t disagree more with Max Gawn after the Melbourne captain suggested that the club’s culture is strong.

Those comments came after the headlines surrounding Clayton Oliver, the news of Joel Smith’s positive drug test coming to light and Steven May’s best and fairest comments.

Speaking to Channel Seven, Gawn said he was bullish on the club’s culture and said that similar incidents happen at most clubs.

“I am certainly very bullish on the culture that we have built over the last three or four years, that it can withstand adversity like this and we are able to get in the top four again, like we have in the last three years,” Gawn said.

“I am in pretty good dialogue with him (Oliver) and we talk every day, and he’s been at my house for a while, so I think Clayton is going really well.

“I understand the noise that is coming around Clayton could bring someone down, but I feel like the support that he has got around him will help him get through it.

“There has been some stuff over the last few weeks, but I feel like this happens at most clubs – adversity here, adversity there – obviously our adversity has all come at once.”

While Gawn believes similar issues occur at rival clubs, Cornes isn’t so sure, particularly with Smith and his positive drug test.

As Smith was found to have cocaine in his system on game day, Cornes was stunned that the utility used the drug midweek.

“Can I tell you it doesn't happen at most clubs, Max,” Cornes said on SEN Breakfast.

“Can I tell you that players don’t take drugs midweek.

“This does not happen at most clubs. The thought is that okay, ‘All these players get up to this’. That may be true, if I had to guess and I'd be just guessing that four out of 10 players perhaps indulge in this. Some would say more.

“But that would be in the off-season.

“I keep saying this, maybe I am naive with this, but I would be astounded if there are many players doing this a couple of days before a game.

“Max Gawn says this happens at most clubs. Well, no, it doesn't.”

As well as the Smith saga, Cornes again pointed to stories surrounding Oliver and May’s comments as proof that Melbourne’s issues are not prevalent at most clubs around the league.

“At most clubs, your best players don't have significant issues like Clayton Oliver has,” Cornes said.

“This story from Mark Robinson around Clayton Oliver … one East Melbourne resident recently revealed that Oliver after a light training session at Yarra Park in the summer of 2022 bent a number of windscreen wipers on cars in a side street.

“It doesn't happen at most clubs. Your best player doesn't walk down the street, bending the windscreens of cars. This doesn't happen.

“We've got the Oliver (saga), then we've got Smith (test), then we've got May embarrassing himself at the best and fairest saying that they would have won the premiership.

“I know it's in an intimate room, but you've got to be smarter than that. He's 31 years of age, Steven May.

“Max Gawn’s sitting here telling us the culture's good and Simon Goodwin is doing the same.

“I think they need to be a bit more honest about where their football club is at.

“This isn't an isolated event and it's certainly I think, incredibly serious.

“Something drastically wrong is going on with one of your players' lives if he's sitting at home or if he's at a seedy nightclub on a Friday before a Sunday game doing this.

“This doesn't happen, Max, at every other club.”

Reports suggest Smith is expecting to serve a three-month suspension for his positive test which would be served over the off-season.


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