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Just ahead of Fremantle's NAB Challenge match against Sydney, coach Ross Lyon said at a media conference that Ryan Crowley, although training with the club, was not available for senior selection. He would not elaborate any further except to say that Crowley was unavailable for "personal reasons". read more »
Essendon coach James Hird has decided not to appeal his case against ASADA, despite his strong belief that the original investigation was illegal. He said he made the decision not to appeal so he and the club could focus on a successful 2015. In a statement, Hird said he had been fighting "on principle" and still believes that the players and club staff were not afforded the rights they deserved by ASADA. read more »
One day before the Eagles played their match against the Indigenous All-Stars, Beau Waters announced his immediate retirement due to his inability to overcome the shoulder problems which have kept him sidelined for the past 18 months. An innocuous bump to his bad shoulder convinced him it was time to give it up. Waters suffered the knock the week before and said "I just went to grab a ball and got hit in a certain direction that jeopardized the integrity of the shoulder ... From them on, it got progressively worse ... I was struggling to get through skills sessions. After being so bullish during the preseason, I was probably a little bit deluded by the fact I hadn't received any contact over that period. I was wrapped in cotton wool. The rest of my body feels great." read more »
By mid-February, Essendon had signed five former AFL players - Clinton Jones, James Magner, Mitch Clisby, Mitch Brown and Jared Petrenko - to fill out their list. Several see as it chance to relaunch their League careers. Ex-Bombers Kepler Bradley (who finished at Fremantle last year) and Cory Dell'Olio will also be sitting out the preseason as the pair were with Essendon in 2012. Bradley re-joined his original club West Perth in 2014 but has recently crossed over to Claremont. Dell'Olio joined South Fremantle after two seasons and 16 games with the Bombers. Two others whose seasons are in doubt are Peel Thunder's Leroy Jetta (93 games 2007-2014) and East Perth's co-captain Brendon Lee who joined the club as a rookie in 2011 but played just two games in 2012 before being delisted. read more »
February 9 to 12, 2015
After a week of uncertainty and speculation, Essendon will field a team in the NAB Cup preseason games. It was rumored that the Bombers might boycott the preseason games, a “one in, all in” scenario. This boycott was for several potential reasons. The first was to protect the anonymity of the “supplements” players (provisionally suspended while the Tribunal considers its decision and ASADA's refusal to leave the suspensions backdated if the players took part in the NAB Challenge). The players involved wanted the suspensions backdated to when they last played in September of 2014. As a result, they dropped their request to have the provisional suspensions lifted by the AFL Commission which has the power to do so. Bombers Dustin Fletcher and Jobe Watson are already at risk of losing part of the backdating due to the AFL allowing them to play in the International Rules Series late in 2014. read more »
At the end of the 2014 season, the AFL reviewed the format and operation of the Match Review Panel and made some sweeping changes. In an effort to bring a more game-savvy view to infractions, four new members have been appointed to the panel. They are recently retired players Luke Ball and Brad Sewell as well as past players Daniel Harford, Nathan Burke and Michael Christian. Christian and Harford have enjoyed success in the media. Burke has been a regular columnist for the magazine Inside Football for several years as well as a board member at St Kilda for the past seven years. read more »
by Johnson Leung reporting for AFANA from Melbourne
AFL Commissioner and former Family Court judge Linda Dessau will become the first female Governor of Victoria in July this year. A passionate Essendon fan, Dessau was the founding chair of the Essendon Women's Network in 1997 before joining the AFL Commission in 2008, and was involved in dealing with the Bombers' drugs scandal. She was a Justice of the Family Court of Victoria from 1995 to 2013, and had also been a Magistrate in the Children's Court, Coroner's Court and the Melbourne Magistrates' Court, a barrister at the Victorian Bar, and Senior Crown Counsel in Hong Kong. Dessau is a Patron of the Epilepsy Foundation and food recycling charity One Umbrella. She also serves on the board of the Melbourne Arts Festival and is a Trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria. She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for her service to the judiciary and the community. read more »
Essendon's preseason campaign could be non-existent with up to 18 players on provisional suspensions while the Anti-Doping hearings continue. The Bombers' first NAB Cup game is scheduled for March 7 but the case may not be concluded for several weeks after that. If found guilty, the players could have their sanctions backdated to their last game in September 2014. The club has been in talks with the AFL, which has the power to lift those suspensions to allow the players to compete. Essendon chairman Paul Little said it was unclear whether or not such a move would impact the ability of a player to use this time against a potential sanction in the event of a guilty verdict. He said the club continues to work with "all relevant parties" to clarify the situation and reach a "satisfactory outcome for our players as quickly as possible.” read more »
James Hird has had his appeal against the ASADA-AFL investigation denied, with the judge stating that the players "had suffered no unfairness in the way ASADA conducted its interviews" and that there was nothing unlawful in ASADA using the power of the AFL to assist in the investigation. Justice Susan Kenny also based her decision on the fact that the players volunteered to be interviewed and that the information they gave was done so with both ASADA and the AFL present during the interviews. Her statement said in part, "the appeal fails because the appellant failed to show that the investigation conducted by ASADA in cooperation with the AFL was not authorized by the ASADA Act". She also ordered Hird to pay all court costs, estimated to be $500,000. read more »
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