Melbourne footballers Jeremy Howe, James Frawley and Lynden Dunn will have to explain themselves to their club after one of them was ejected from the cricket during a beer-soaked afternoon at the MCG on Boxing Day.
Howe was asked to leave by security staff after exchanging words and remonstrating with other fans on Wednesday, spoiling a day that began well as his cousin, Matthew Wade, was wicketkeeping for Australia on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
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It is understood Frawley, Dunn, former Melbourne players Jared Rivers and Ricky Petterd and a group of other friends decided to leave the ground when Howe was asked to leave by security staff. Rivers was traded to Geelong recently and Petterd was recruited by Richmond in the rookie draft.
The players had been drinking through the day and at one point held aloft a long train of empty plastic beer cups.
The embarrassment ends a dirty year for Melbourne, which finished the 2012 season in 16th place and must prepare respond to the AFL over evidence the club tanked games for draft picks in 2009.
Melbourne players are currently on leave but a club spokesman on Thursday confirmed Howe, Frawley and Dunn would be asked to explain themselves early in the new year, either to the player leadership group or to management.
"The matter will be dealt with, whether it's a punishment determined by the leadership group, when they all get back to training," the spokesman said.
The first Melbourne players will return to training on Wednesday, with all players back by January 7.
Police and security staff ejected 73 people from the MCG on Boxing Day, and nine were fined. But the Melbourne spokesman said none of the players were fined.
An AFL spokesman said the league would not take any action against the players.
Comment is being sought from Geelong and Richmond.