Geelong will support Jack Steven. Picture: Getty
Geelong will support Jack Steven. Picture: Getty

Robinson: Cats will not abandon Steven

Geelong will ask Jack Steven two questions.

1. What happened?

2. What can we do to help?

The answer to the first question doesn't really change the answer to the second question because no matter how Steven came to have a knife wound in his chest the Cats will have his back so to speak.

If Steven was stabbed by someone, the Cats will be alarmed by a number issues - by the company he keeps, the places he visits and the lifestyle he is living.

If the wound was inflicted in a moment of vulnerability, that second question is extra paramount.

Jack Steven will get the support he needs from his new club. Picture: Getty
Jack Steven will get the support he needs from his new club. Picture: Getty

Steven is new to Geelong, but arrived with old problems.

His mental health issue is on public record, his social behaviour wrapped around his mental health, far less so. But since his arrival, the Cat couldn't be happier.

He stripped the kilograms he carried in his final games for the Saints and although he missed the Round 1 match against GWS Giants with a calf issue, his football prognosis was blasting positiveness.

Then the lockdown arrived.

The Cats had a handle on Jack and Jack on the club and the structure in place was ideal for a club taking a punt and for a player hellbent on saving his career.

The eight-week lockdown, however, scuppered the structure. Geelong's overwhelming concern on Sunday was Steven's wellbeing and, to be honest, late Sunday afternoon didn't know the circumstances surrounding Saturday night's incident.

The Cats also don't really know whether solation has had an impact on him and if so, how big an impact.

Steven has checked in via technology, similar to all players, but the more subtle behavioural traits such as body language and verbal contribution, couldn't be judged.

The wellbeing equation for Steven comes less than a week after the AFL forced clubs to slash their football budgets.

The AFL mandated a psychiatrist and a player welfare officer be included in the staff allow

ance of 25, and the probability is Steven will need both when he returns to the club. Maybe even more than those two.

The fact is there will be less people at the football club, which is the institution which cares most, to help Steven or any player in a difficult spot.

Just how many players could fall through the cracks is certainly a concern for every club.

As expected, when news broke about the events on Saturday night, scuttlebutt ensued about Steven's lifestyle.

Steven left the Saints at the end of 2019. Picture: Getty
Steven left the Saints at the end of 2019. Picture: Getty

It is anecdotal and not about to be published here.

It's expected, and similar to the situation which followed Dean Laidley's arrest a fortnight ago, former Saints teammates and current Cars teammates will offer every kind of support.

Steven was loved at St Kilda. The relationship had its moments in the final two years when Steven lost professionalism, his is desire to play football and, some at St Kilda say, spurned their offers of support.

But he was loved nevertheless.

In the end, Steven wanted a new environment.

He moved to Geelong at the end of last season and is understood to have been living with his brother and throughout made frequent trips to Melbourne to see his daughter from a previous relationship.

He had confided in friends he still had mental challenges, but was fit and super keen to re-kick his career.

This latest incident is a setback clearly.

But make no mistake, and amid expected discussions about the worth of the Steven trade, Geelong will not abandon their player at the first hint of trouble.

Geelong knew his background and, anyhow, right now it's about the person and not the player.

 

 

Originally published as Robbo: Cats will not abandon Steven


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