AFL: St Kilda coach Alan Richardson has refuted reports there was a falling out between him and now retired Saints defender Sean Dempster.
ST KILDA coach Alan Richardson is adamant there’s no rift between him and Sean Dempster, denying reports that he and the retired Saint had a falling out.
The veteran Saints defender announced his retirement late last week, citing concussion fears following numerous head knocks across his 222-game career.
However it has been reported that Dempster was left far from impressed when he was left out of St Kilda’s Round 1 team.
Richardson last week said it was a “form” related selection, despite Dempster’s 10th-placed finish in the Saints’ best and fairest count last year.
But Richardson told Fox Footy that reports of a feud between him and Dempster were “almost laughable”.
“Anyone who knows Sean Dempster finds it incredibly distasteful that someone would say that about a person who is just so pro his footy club, whether it was his time at Sydney — and certainly his later years at St Kilda,” Richardson told AFL 360.
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“To suggest that because he hasn’t got a game — that he’s grabbed his bat and ball and taken off — is so far from the truth it’s not funny.”
Dempster, an All-Australian, played in five Grand Finals during his career, with his only success coming in 2005 when he was part of the Swans team that defeated the West Coast Eagles.
But Dempster was lauded as one of the most respected players in the game — a notion Richardson supported on Monday night.
“We’re talking about a bloke — and as Sean has said publicly — a guy that became incredibly anxious about his own health and wellbeing based on a knock in JLT 1. I reckon there was a period where he was trying to pretend all this stuff wasn’t happening,” Richardson said.
“This is a bloke that’s given the game away because of his health and we support that.”
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Originally published as ‘Almost laughable’: Richo refutes rumblings