AFL club bosses warned over Tarryn Thomas behaviour as former North Melbourne player hunts lifeline

Aaron Kirby
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Tarryn Thomas was sacked by North Melbourne in February.
Tarryn Thomas was sacked by North Melbourne in February. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

North Melbourne have written to every AFL club boss to warn them former player Tarryn Thomas “was not able to meaningfully change his behaviour” before being sacked by the club in February.

It comes as the 24-year-old, who is facing multiple domestic violence-related allegations, hunts an AFL lifeline for next season.

The Age revealed Kangaroos chief executive Jennifer Watt had personally written to West Coast boss Don Pyke in response to his push for the stand against gender-based violence that was seen in a pregame huddle before every match at the weekend.

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In the email — where every club CEO had been included — Watt said the club had already tried and failed to assist Thomas on a number of cases.

“(Kangaroos president) Sonja Hood and I have been talking a lot about this, especially in light of the recent challenges we faced with Tarryn Thomas,” the email sent earlier this month read.

“We were struck by just how hard it was to find programs to support behaviour change. And this was for someone with considerable resources and support around them.

“We eventually found a combination of programs for Tarryn.

“Even though Tarryn ended up completing four different programs, which included an extensive combination of education, therapy and participation-style programs, we were not able to meaningfully change his behaviour.”

Watt said there was a need for league-wide reform to address the issue.

The AFL banned Thomas for 18 games in February due to allegations that he engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, including threatening a woman.

However, reports from the East Coast suggest that clubs may be interested in adding the midfielder to their list for next season.

The AFL have stipulated that before he could return to the elite level he would need to prove he had successfully completed a behavioural change program.

The Kangaroos suspended Thomas in early 2023 over charges related to threatening to distribute an intimate image.

However, the charge was dropped, and the subsequent charge of using a carrier service to harass was also dropped after a $1000 donation to a court fund.

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