Courtenay Dempsey.
Courtenay Dempsey. GETTY IMAGES

Playing group tells Dempsey to raise standards

ESSENDON has grounded star defender Courtenay Dempsey until further notice.

The 26-year-old has played 88 games for the club since making his debut in 2006, but has not played this season because of a hamstring complaint.

Interim coach Mark Thompson said Dempsey would train with the club's VFL side, and would not be available for AFL selection until he met the standards and expectations set by the playing group, and the club.

"Courtenay is a talented player and an important member of our team. We'll give him the support required to regain the consistent standards we expect of him as a player at this football club," Thompson said.

"We sat down with Courtenay and discussed the reasons why his training standards had dropped, and, as a result, we agreed the best way forward for him was to go back and train with the VFL side."