The football career of Andrew Lovett seems all but over.
On Monday, Lovett was charged by police for allegedly raping a woman while she slept on Christmas Eve last year.
St Kilda has wasted no time in terminating the contract of the troubled footballer, But the charge was not the sole reason for Lovett’s termination, according to a letter sent to Lovett’s lawyers.
Instead, St Kilda cited a number of instances of ‘serious and/or wilful misconduct’ which they say have occurred since his move to Morrabbin from Essendon in the draft last year.
St Kilda’s chief executive Michael Nettlefold was adamant that the club’s decision was based on an ongoing series of misdemeanors.
‘On a number of occasions he engaged in actions that were failures to comply with our standards of expected behavioural conduct,’ he said.
‘We simply could not ignore such breaches, nor could we ignore the damage being done to St.Kilda’s reputation.’
The Saints’ decision to end their star recruit’s three-year $1 million deal before the start of the 2010 AFL season will cost them a significant amount of money.
But what it has done is potentially saved them from dealing with more sticky and contentious off-field issues involving Lovett. Therefore it is the right decision.
The 27-year-old played 88 games and kicked 93 goals during his time at Essendon. But the Bombers were fed up with his off-field antics and inconsistent performance on the field.
You got the feeling that Lovett wasn’t happy at the club and both parties agreed that a trade was needed.
Enter the St Kilda Football Club.
Lovett was traded to the Saints late last year in search of new opportunities and new beginnings. He was the perfect answer to St Kilda’s major issue on the field: speed.
He was quick and could break the lines late in a game when it seemed like no else could. He was going to inject blistering pace into a Saints midfield that lacked speed, something particularly evident during last year’s finals series.
St Kilda knew they were taking a massive risk when they picked up Lovett. His poor reputation off the field was well-known, beginning in 2006 when he was issued with a court intervention order following an assault on his girlfriend.
Lovett had missed numerous training sessions at Essendon. He has also been fined for driving without a license and has been arrested for being drunk in a public place.
But the Saints put their trust in Lovett and firmly believed he could turn his life around off the field.
They offered him an invaluable second chance, signing him to a very generous three-year million dollar contract.
The potential that Lovett had to do great things at a club that is currently at the height of its powers is a bitter pill for St Kilda fans to swallow.
However, due to his own poor decision making, he will never grace an AFL field in St Kilda colours.
It is such a shame that Lovett’s career has come to such an abrupt end. He was a player so blissfully skilled on the field, but so blatantly dumb off it.
Critics have been quick to condemn St Kilda for signing Lovett with the knowledge of poor off-field behaviour. But this is not the Saints’ fault.
Lovett would have known that St Kilda is one of the most professional clubs in the league and that they would not tolerate any poor behavior.
Lovett knew that this was his final chance to make it as a professional football player and that he could achieve great things with the Saints.
Surely he knew that he had to shape up if he was going to be a part of a shot at a premiership.
Single-handedly, Lovett has brought about the demise of his own career. Whether he is found guilty or not of the charges against him, he has seriously stuffed up.
If the rumours are true, Lovett was friendless at St.Kilda. It has been making the rounds for a while that neither the players, coaches nor the board wanted Lovett at the club.
It would be easy to reach the conclusion that Lovett will never play with an AFL club again.
However, you don’t have to look to far into the past to see that players behaving badly can still get a second, third and sometimes fourth chance.