THE only club to have fallen foul of the AFL's three-strikes drugs policy is urging the league to change the system.
Hawthorn yesterday played its first match in Tasmania since the AFL drug bombshell exploded and its chief executive Stuart Fox used the occasion to air the club's concerns.
``We're the only club that has lived through a third strike and the frustrating thing is the AFL hang you out to dry for it,'' Fox said, referring to the 2010 suspension of midfielder Travis Tuck.
``We're pushing for CEOs to hear after a second strike.''
Speaking before his side's one-point NAB Cup loss to Richmond in front of 8601 spectators at Aurora Stadium, Fox said there was plenty of evidence to suggest the existing policy had served the code well.
``But I think it is time for some refinement and we've got a perfect opportunity now to make those changes.
``Being a club that's lived through it, we certainly feel that someone other than the doctor, someone senior at the club, needs to have some knowledge so we can put more support around the player.
``Having knowledge after the second strike would be fantastic.
``The other thing we'd like to see is some profiling, maybe at the midway point and end of the season, of how the testing went, without naming the person.
``That would just allow a CEO to evaluate whether there actually is a problem at the club.
``It would not allow me to take action on specific individuals but more around the whole playing group.''
Fox, who is on a working party sub-committee for illicit drug policy review, described only learning about the Tuck situation after his third positive test as ``extremely frustrating''.
``I felt quite useless because it was all done and dusted. We were managing a crisis with 24 hours notice. It was hard on the player, hard on their family and hard on the club.
``With more warning, more notice, you get rid of the shock factor.''
Fox said all clubs had been put on notice about performance-enhancing drugs by proceedings at Windy Hill.
``There's nothing worse than seeing Essendon stand up there not knowing if they had a problem or not,'' he said.
``Every AFL CEO went downstairs and started investigating after that.''
He admitted no club could ever be 100 per cent sure they did not have a problem as players were their own bosses in their own time, but stressed such substances ``would not come from the club'' at Hawthorn.
``The good thing to come of it is that it's caused us to go and double check our procedures around who we employ, protocol around use of supplements and those types of thing.''
Fox also told a pre-match function how it was a text from captain Luke Hodge that sparked the club's response to the Tasmanian bushfires, how he felt the losing grand finalists were a month behind some of their rivals in preparation for the season and how he was still dealing with the outspoken nature of his predecessor Jeff Kennett.
``He's unbelievable. He just won't shut up,'' Fox joked, adding how impressive it was that even when Kennett had been supposedly out of phone range in deepest Borneo, he still managed to feature live on a radio station to comment on the departure of Victorian premier Ted Baillieu.
``It's good now because I can say he's not with us any more. And at least he'll give us the heads up if he's going to say something stupid.''