Sylvia axed from Rules squad after car crash

AN Australian player has been stripped of his berth on the International Rules for leaving the scene of a car accident.

Demons player Colin Sylvia’s BMW X5 crashed and knocked down a power pole in Melbourne, at 6.15am (Australian time) yesterday. He and his driver left the scene and police say they were not notified until 7.45am. They later spoke to a 27-year-old, who is expected to be charged with traffic offences.

The AFL removed Sylvia from the International Rules Series yesterday morning, given he was drinking the night before the team’s first training session.

Adrian Anderson, the AFL’s general manager of football operations, said the player’s preparation had not been acceptable.

“I spoke to Colin today and advised him he would not join the squad,” he told to the Herald Sun.

“His preparation to join the Australian team was not acceptable for the standards we require for this series.”

Melbourne Football Club officials said Sylvia had been returning home from a friend’s place. Sources said he had spent the night enjoying drinks and watching television with the friend. CCTV footage showed him in the passenger seat, texting, at the time of the crash.

“Colin was interviewed by police today, who also had access to CCTV footage,” the club said.

“Police have confirmed that whilst Colin left the scene, as he was not the driver he has not committed an offence.”

Sylvia has a history of bad behaviour and publicly pledged to reform his bad-boy image, but had been in trouble as recently as March. He was hauled before the club after being out too late following a NAB Cup clash, and was told a repetition of the behaviour would see him suspended. Sylvia was also accused of harassing his girlfriend after a 2006 incident.

Meanwhile Aussie coach Rodney Eade will give Gold Coast ruckman Zac Smith the key goalkeeper’s post for the International Rules series.

Melbourne defender James Frawley has been touted as another goalkeeping option, but Eade said he would give the lofty Smith the chance to prove his skills.

“We will try Zac first and see how we go,” Eade said before training at Whitten Oval.

“But I think that having a soccer background, he’s got some idea of it. I’ve spoken to him about it and he’s more than comfortable to trial it.”

As the team has done in previous years, Australia will bring in an expert to provide insight on the finer points of goalkeeping as part of its preparations for Friday’s opening Test at Etihad Stadium.

The Australians left yesterday afternoon for a team camp in Torquay, where Eade said the selection of the team captain would be finalised.

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