Mick's way different: Dad

BILLY Swan says son Dane has accepted his punishment from Collingwood but last night suggested that had Mick Malthouse still been coach the champion midfielder would not have been suspended for a late-night drinking indiscretion.

A remorseful Swan apologised to his teammates and coaches yesterday for breaking a player-driven pledge to abstain from alcohol for the remainder of the season, a decision made during a circle-of-trust honesty session after the heavy defeat to Hawthorn in round 17.

He has been suspended for two matches, missing crucial clashes against Sydney and North Melbourne.

Billy Swan, a legendary VFA player with Williamstown and Port Melbourne, said his son was now intent on regaining his spot in the team.

''He is glad it is all settled and done with and everything is back to normal at the club,'' he told The Age.

''He just wants to do the right thing over the next couple of weeks and get back in the team, hopefully contribute to their finals campaign.

''He is just happy … that it's done and dusted. They have made their decision. It's not changing. He has accepted it, he will move on and try and do the right thing.''

Asked if he felt Swan would have been suspended had Malthouse, who had a more flexible approach to indiscretions, still been coach, Billy Swan said: ''Obviously, everyone knows that Mick had a different policy. Everyone is different and has different policies. If you are in a team environment, I suppose you have to stick to them.''

Swan said his son, 28, remained committed to the Magpies, where he is contracted until the end of the 2014 season.

Billy Swan would not comment on the events of Sunday night.

The 2011 Brownlow medallist attended the birthday party of friend Simon Lennox at St Kilda's Hotel Barkly. It's understood former Essendon and St Kilda player Andrew Lovett also attended.

However, Magpies coach Nathan Buckley yesterday said Swan did not consume alcohol at the venue. Rather, he had drunk before and after the event. Just where and with whom was the source of ongoing speculation.

Explaining what seems to be the media's regular focus on Swan's after-hours activities, Buckley said: ''Even on Sunday night, he didn't have a drink at the Barkly. He was out at the venue drinking waters there. That was not where he offended. The drinks happened before and after that.

''If it was just the Barkly that people are looking at, or the public exposure people are looking at, sometimes that can be misleading one way or the other.

''He understands he is a high-profile individual, he understands he is part of a high-profile club and you are going to be held to account for your decisions - probably on a higher standard than most, but that's what you take on when you become an AFL footballer, and even more so when you become a very good one.''

Buckley said the decision to suspend Swan was ''easy'' and that the 2011 Brownlow medallist and three-time Copeland Trophy winner was embarrassed by his actions.

''Dane has accepted he was drinking when he shouldn't have been,'' he said. ''For as long as I can remember, our players know no drinking on six-day breaks, no drinking when you are injured and above all else, when the playing group get together and decide that we are going to make a stand and find that extra little bit of investment for the last part of our season, and we are not going to drink, you don't drink. That was pretty clear.''

Captain Nick Maxwell insists Swan is still committed to football.

''I do get that asked a bit about Swanny because he is a different character and he is so carefree and you see the interviews that he does,'' Maxwell said on SEN.

''Swanny cares about his football and he cares about his mates at the football club a lot.

''Definitely, in terms of his football, this is obviously really going to hurt him over the next couple of weeks sitting there and watching us play and watching us struggle to beat two tough teams.''

Maxwell said the Magpies would have suspended Swan even if this had been grand final week.

Swan will not play this week at any level. A decision is yet to be made on whether he will play reserves next week to maintain his fitness.

The story Mick's way different: Dad first appeared on WA Today.

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