How St Kilda stars heard teammate Tim Membrey was a shock withdrawal from finals due to mental health struggle

By Josh Alston For Daily Mail Australia

02:29 12 Sep 2023, updated 02:29 12 Sep 2023

  • Membrey was a late withdrawal from side on Saturday
  • St Kilda coach Ross Lyon revealed news hit team hard 
  • If you need support, contact Lifeline 13 11 14, or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 

St Kilda players found out through their wives and girlfriends that star player Tim Membrey was a late omission for their AFL elimination final on Saturday while some teammates didn’t even know until just before kick-off.

The star forward was a shock late ommission for the Saints elimination final against GWS on Saturday with players findout when Membrey’s wife texted some of their partners early in the morning.

Other players were not alerted until an emergency team meeting at 1.30pm, less than two hours before kickoff.

Coach Ross Lyon has made an update on how the situation played out, saying some of Membrey’s teammates were left in shock at the news while refusing to blame the absence of the key forward for the four-goal loss.

Veteran AFL reporter Caroline Wilson said some players were still coming to terms with the news after the match, as well.

‘Membrey’s wife had contacted partners of other players. Some players got to the ground knowing, but not knowing really how bad it was,’ she said.

‘Ross Lyon took the decision to address the players at their exit interviews today. Some players said it threw them a bit.

‘I don’t think that they would have won the game, but it affected some players who were in shock.’

This photo of Tim Membrey and his two children was taken just days before his bombshell withdrawal from the elimination final against GWS
Membrey was a late withdrawal through personal issues and has been placed under the AFL’s mental health system

 Lyon spoke on 3AW and updated fans on how the Membrey situation had played out and the support being offered him, his family and the playing group. 

‘I got a call at quarter past eight in the morning from the club doctor … And then I made a call to our GM (of footy) and then our CEO – and understood things fully,’ he said.

‘Then it was ‘we’ll bring in [Anthony] Caminiti outside the 26, we need special consideration’ – and then you’re flagging (it with the) AFL, Giants – we went that path. 

In hindsight, maybe we would have played [Dougal] Howard, Cordy forward just to be able to contain all information and protect the day, our players. But because we didn’t do that, once there’s an oil spill, media release, communique.

‘And then there’s a lot of chatter with your group. So I made the decision when everyone arrives at 1.30, in [for a meeting]. Shared what I could – because we always do – and then: ‘Anyone got any questions that we can answer?’ he continued.

‘And then if anyone doesn’t feel they’re up to the challenge, there’s an emergency Ryan Byrnes ready to go, because there’s some people close to the situation. Tried to just get rid of legitimate conversations that would have occurred otherwise.

‘One player said today ‘it’s just a bit confusing just trying to figure it out’, but that was the situation we’re in. So unique, no rule book, but just try and be as honest and get the ability to reset.

‘You can’t quantify what effect (it had) … It was not ideal, but it was certainly no excuse. Some of those closest to Tim felt it didn’t affect them, like Seb Ross.

‘We had the tools in the palette to pull out, but we didn’t apply them how we should have.’

Lyon said it was difficult managing player emotions on the day and said there was ‘no rule book’ on how to handle such a difficult situation
Tim Membrey was forced to miss Saturday’s elimination final against GWS with a serious mental health issue
Membrey in his days on the park has become one of the biggest stars in the sport
The playing group was left shocked by the Membrey news on the day of their elimination final against GWS

 Saints fans have been quick to rally around Membrey with message of support. 

‘It doesn’t matter which colours you wear. Wishing Tim Membrey all the very best. Hate hearing stories like this. Hope he and his family are ok,’ one posted.

‘Sending my best to Tim Membrey. Been such an important part of the Saints lineup since he came to the club. Tim, we love you, we want to see you playing footy and most importantly, happy in life,’ another sent to the star forward.

‘Stay strong Tim Membrey. It’s ok to feel the way you do, you’re human brother, and this is real, I’ve been there, it’s dark, you feel helpless, just hold your Family and Friends tight my friend. They are all you need right now,’ was another touching post.

‘All the best Tim. Much loved player and I’m sure when the time is right we’ll see you back better than ever.’ 

In a tough encounter without Membrey, the Saints buckled, falling to the Giants by four goals

Saints assistant coach Lenny Hayes also revealed the effect the shocking news had on the team.

‘This sort of thing kinda rocks us all,’ he said.

‘In this situation, we really need to respect Tim and what he’s going through.

‘He’s got a mental health challenge at the moment that’s sort of reared, and that’s all I can really say out of respect to him.

‘He’s in really good hands at the moment and our thoughts are with him. There’s not too much more we can say.

‘Our thoughts are with Tim but we spoke to all the players about it before the game and tried to stay focused.’

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