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Rabbitohs' Michael Maguire refuses to blame Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray for drugs

  • Rabbitohs coach believes young duo will learn from terrible experience 
  • Gray, 21, and Walker, 20, overdosed on prescription drugs last month
  • The pair were in intensive care at St Vincent's Hospital, but recovered 
  • 'That’s what life is all about: you’ve got to make the right choices,' he says
  • Maguire's book A Year To Remember charts the Rabbitohs' 2014 title win 

By John Carney for Daily Mail Australia

Published: 00:17 EST, 15 October 2015 | Updated: 01:14 EST, 15 October 2015

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South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has refused to judge two of his players who nearly died of drug overdoses saying that it was a spur-of-the-moment decision made by the pair.     

The two South Sydney rugby league players, Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray, overdosed on prescription drugs last month.

Gray, 21, and Walker, 20, were rushed to intensive care at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after a friend called an ambulance in the early hours of the morning when they started reacting to the painkillers they were prescribed following end of season surgery. 

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has no axe to grind with either Dylan Walker or Aaron Gray after their prescription drug overdoses

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has no axe to grind with either Dylan Walker or Aaron Gray after their prescription drug overdoses

Gray (left), 21, and Walker (right), 20, overdosed on prescription drugs last month

Gray (left), 21, and Walker (right), 20, overdosed on prescription drugs last month

But Maguire refused to criticise his two players saying that they'd learned the hard way a very valuable lesson. 

‘It only takes a moment in time to make the wrong decision – that’s all it takes. Some moments in life are game-changers. That’s what life is all about: you’ve got to make the right choices,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'Unfortunately we all make the wrong choices at times. Everyone that was involved around that (incident) will get a lot out of that and make better decisions in the future.

'It’s a life issue that everyone faces. It was unfortunate for the two boys but they’ll work through it. They’ll be educated now (on what to do) in that sort of scenario in years to come.

'There’s a lot of people who find themselves in those sort of situations in life. It’s about being able to take something positive out of it and get an understanding of it.'

Maguire gets drenched after his team won the 2014 NRL Grand Final. He's sticking by his two young players 

Maguire gets drenched after his team won the 2014 NRL Grand Final. He's sticking by his two young players 

Walker (left) and Gray (right) walk together before speaking to media outside St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on Friday, after getting released from hospital

Walker (left) and Gray (right) walk together before speaking to media outside St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on Friday, after getting released from hospital

The situation for the two players looked dire at one stage as paramedics treated the young men in the backyard of Gray's family home before being taken to hospital where the pair were placed in induced comas.

Walker and Gray had both been prescribed the painkillers Targin, a morphine-based oxycodone, and Tramadol by specialists following surgery. It was reported that the duo took each other's painkillers, as well as their own, given the adverse reactions.  

The 41-year-old coach however did not think that young players in the game needed to be educated about the dangers of drug use - they knew the pitfalls already. 

'There is a lot of education out there already. It’s all about the time and place and making the right decisions at that time,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'You see so many people who are educated and still make those mistakes, but they learn from it. It’s really about choice and what you’re doing at the time.

Gray (left) and Walker (right) were rushed to intensive care at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after a friend called an ambulance in the early hours of the morning

Gray (left) and Walker (right) were rushed to intensive care at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney after a friend called an ambulance in the early hours of the morning

The 41-year-old coach (pictured) however did not think that young players in the game needed to be educated about the dangers of drug use as they were already aware of them

The 41-year-old coach (pictured) however did not think that young players in the game needed to be educated about the dangers of drug use as they were already aware of them

Walker has been an influential figure for the Rabbitohs in recent years

Walker has been an influential figure for the Rabbitohs in recent years

Walker (left) and Gray had both been prescribed the painkillers Targin, a morphine-based oxycodone, and Tramadol by specialists following surgery

Walker (left) and Gray had both been prescribed the painkillers Targin, a morphine-based oxycodone, and Tramadol by specialists following surgery

'You’ve got to make these decisions and they’ve got to be the right ones more often than not. It’s one everyone has to do.

'For young men going through life, learning lessons is probably the biggest thing that everyone faces at some stage.' 

When Maguire guided the Rabbitohs to the NRL Premiership in 2014 it broke a drought that had lasted for 43 years. He has now detailed their memorable run to the crown in his book A Year To Remember.  

'A footy fan might read the book and see something that would educate them a little bit, but it's also good for our fans to have something documented about what was achieved then,' Maguire explained.

Maguire's book A Year To Remember details the Rabbitohs' 2014 season when they went on to win the NRL crown

Maguire's book A Year To Remember details the Rabbitohs' 2014 season when they went on to win the NRL crown

'That was the real reason why I gave more details in it than I normally do, because I saw how the community grew as the team progressed in the competition. It's great that they now have a memory of that they can have.

'In 10 or 15 years' time they may look at the book and remember a moment that took place in the season. I saw so many fans inside that stadium when we won the final - there were plenty of tears but they were tears of joy.'  

A YEAR TO REMEMBER by Michael Maguire, published by Allen & Unwin is in-store now, RRP $32.99. 

The 2014 season culminated in the Rabbitohs winning the NRL title for the first time in 43 years

The 2014 season culminated in the Rabbitohs winning the NRL title for the first time in 43 years

 

 

 

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