Demons star Steven May has admitted to the AFL that he is “uncontrollable” when he has too much to drink, in a staunch defence of his teammate Jake Melksham, according to senior AFL journalist Caroline Wilson.
Speaking on Nine’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night, Wilson recounted what she had been told about the interviews the AFL has conducted with the Demons players involved in a now infamous restaurant altercation that turned physical.
She said the AFL had questioned both May and Melksham “at length” and revealed that May had put his hand up to take full responsibility for the embarrassing incident.
“Steven May has gone in, in a huge way, to bat for Jake Melksham,” Wilson said, “and has fessed up just how badly he behaves when he drinks”.
“[He confessed] how he was uncontrollable that night, and when it did spill outside, my understanding is that three of the players were trying to hold Steven May back and were unable to do that as he went for Jake Melksham, whose punch the AFL is not happy about but they’re satisfied was in self defence.”
The revelation comes after Demons president Kate Roffey was asked on 3AW whether the club would put May on a drinking ban.
Roffey said the club would not put that imposition on the player, but according to Wilson, it may only be a matter of time before May chooses to make that call himself.
“Melbourne is in a position now where they are hoping, and Steven May is clearly undergoing a lot of personal work, development work, and has been since he came to the club…They are absolutely adamant that he will come to that realisation himself.
“He feels dreadful obviously, for what happened on Monday, quite apart from the terrible publicity he’s given to his footy club, and he’s just said to his club ‘When this happens, I’m uncontrollable.”
Wilson added that before punching May during the altercation he had attempted “up to a dozen times” to shake May’s hand and move on.
“But it just didn’t happen,” she said.
While May is copping the brunt of the blame in the fallout to the boozy team night out, former St Kilda and Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said the fact that the incident was allowed to spiral as it did showed “a lack of courage” from the other players who were there.
“What it also talks to is that when you’re winning everyone thinks it’s Camelot, everything’s perfect,” Lyon said.
“But under the surface there’s a lot going on and it’s not perfect just because you’re winning and there are challenges continuously for AFL players.”
Lyon went further, saying the Demons will struggle to recover from the incident without their premiership defence suffering significantly, citing the demeaning way in which May told Melksham he would have cost the club a premiership had he played in last year’s grand final.
“I heard Leigh Matthews on radio talk about in his whole playing career and coaching career, he’s never heard language used to demean a player about not participating … it’s significant,” Lyon said.
“I think it’s not a simple, ‘We’re all good mate,’ wink wink, and go on with it.
“And I think you saw that (in Melbourne’s loss to Collingwood). I don’t think they were a great, passionate team on (Monday).”
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