AFL star’s girlfriend breaks her silence
Elijah Taylor's girlfriend has spoken out about her rendezvous to see her man inside Sydney's quarantine zone in Western Australia on Friday night.
Taylor, 19, was part way through a 14-day isolation with teammates at the Joondalup Resort when he snuck his girlfriend in.
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Lekahni Pearce, 18, was alleged to have crossed a golf course and jumped multiple fences in order to be with Taylor, according to veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson.
But on Tuesday night Pearce spoke with Channel 7 and confirmed the true events surrounding the meet up, saying there was no scaling of any fences.
"No security, I didn't see a security guard," she told Channel 7. "I just walked through, went to his room. That's how easy it was.
"I didn't jump any fences."
Pearce reportedly spent around eight hours with Taylor before the pair were caught by two senior teammates. The quarantine breach resulted in Taylor being suspended for the remainder of the season and Sydney being hit with a $50,000 fine, with $25,000 of that suspended.
Pearce apologised for the actions of the pair which led to widespread backlash and could have put the season in jeopardy.
"I am sorry for everything," she said. "And like, we did make a really big mistake."
The pair however are set to be hit with infringement notices by Western Australia police over the quarantine breach.
It was believed the duo may escape police sanctions, but WA police commissioner Gary Dreibergs said during a press conference on Tuesday they would both be receiving fines.
The good news for Taylor and Pearce is they have avoided criminal charges which were reportedly being considered by WA police, according to The Daily Telegraph.
A criminal charge for the breach could have resulted in a maximum $50,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail.
Sydney coach John Longmire said the club is still in the process of deciding if they'll hand Taylor additional penalties on top of his season-long ban.
"It's obviously sinking in and he's very quiet, as you'd imagine, and no doubt reflective," Longmire said at a press conference.
"It's a very bad decision that he's made. If you step back, it's an immature decision and not every player that you get when you go to the national draft has got the same maturity levels and the same backgrounds.
"You have to work through those issues and help educate and hopefully you get out the other side and you make a difference in these young people's lives. It's not just about football. You sit down and talk to them about decision making and their life skills.
"What you don't know is something like COVID coming up and rearing its head and, in Elijah's case, him being away from the football club for three months during the shutdown period. He only got to our club in December.
"That doesn't take anything away from how serious it is and the responsibility that absolutely sits with Elijah, but just puts some context around these things."
Originally published as AFL star's girlfriend breaks her silence