“He was the victim of something quite serious”
THE pending return of the AFL season took a backseat when Geelong coach Chris Scott faced the media on Thursday, with the recent hospitalisation of midfielder Jack Steven very much front and centre.
Scott confirmed he has spoken with Steven who has since been released from hospital.
“He’s out of hospital and in pretty good spirits,” Scott said of the former Saint.
“Clearly he was the victim of something quite serious, but it looks like he will make a quick recovery, so that’s good news.
“We’re trying to respect his privacy as much as possible as well. We want to care for him and help as much as we possibly can, but we certainly don’t want to add to the invasion of his
privacy that has already taken place.”
Scott believes it will be days rather than weeks before Steven is back at the club and rejected the negative speculation that has circulated since the weekend incident.
“I’m not across all the commentary around it, but my sense is that there’s some feel that Jack might have some sort of case to answer here,” he said.
“I haven’t seen or heard any information that would imply that; it’s clear that he was a victim of something quite serious that required hospitalisation, but I think the priority
should be his wellbeing, and part of that is respecting his privacy.
“I think it’s wrong that some people have jumped the gun and said that this is an AFL integrity matter and Jack has a case to answer before he’s allowed to play footy again.
“I just think that’s assuming the worst in people and unless you have some information that I don’t have you’re probably wrong in making that assumption.”
With Round 2 just three weeks away, Scott wouldn’t speculate on a potential return to action for the 30-year-old, but he was adamant the hard-running former St Kilda star remains a vital part of the Cats’ plans.
“I am happy to say that he is very much in our thoughts when it comes to the possible composition of our team in 2020.
“Like a few of our guys, the jury is still out until we see them train a little bit more and assess where they are with their capacity to play high-pressure, elite-level footy.”
Scott cautioned against tying Steven’s previous mental health battles with the incident, believing they are two very separate issues, and praising the influence he has had on the group since making a move during last season’s trade period.
“He was travelling well. He missed Round 1 with a minor issue – he was touch and go whether we’d play him, we took the conservative approach with him.
“I have read some commentary that he has been really impressive during the preseason, and I’ll verify that.
“Jack is a good, fun guy, our players have really warmed to him, and he’s been a real positive for us through this preseason. I don’t think he’s different to any of our players in that we
respect their individuality.
“He’s certainly not your cookie-cutter AFL player. He is a little bit different, but I could speak about 30 of our players in a similar manner because we do respect their right to be individuals.”