Angus Monfries

AFL Trades, Delistings and Retirements
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting from AFANA from Chicago

On October 6, the two-week free agency/trade period began, as well as several clubs delisting players to make places available for newcomers. The biggest news ahead of this period was Gary Ablett requesting a trade back to Geelong despite a year left on his contract with the Suns. Others to request trades have been: Port's Jarman Impey designating Hawthorn his preferred choice, Giants Nathan Wilson and Devon Smith, Adelaide's Jake Lever and Charlie Cameron. The Bulldogs were also seeking to trade Jake Stringer, whose inconsistent form has seen fall out of favor. Melbourne was also seeking to trade Jack Watts, who was bitterly disappointed at not being able to remain with the club.

Footy World Divided On Replacement Players
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Here are reactions from around the footy world to the replacement players allowed for Essendon, but not for other affected clubs:

Journalist Martin Blake, who has a weekly spot on Kevin Bartlett's show Hungry For Sport, said that since the players had been convicted, there should be no compensation. He accused the AFL of compromising, saying the league didn't want a powerhouse club like Essendon to not be able to field a team. He said the club should just have elevated the rookies.

Former Bulldog and Tiger coach Terry Wallace queried why Port Adelaide weren’t allowed to replace Angus Monfries,

Essendon Sign Seven AFL Says No To Other Clubs
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Bulldogs, Saints, Demons and Port Adelaide have all been denied their request to the AFL to replace their suspended players with an extra primary player (from the recent national draft) or rookie listed player. AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the circumstances did not call for special treatment or exception to the rules beyond those already granted - upgrading a rookie listed player to the senior list.

What's Next For Essendon and AFL
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

THE FALLOUT

For the immediate present, the two biggest issues facing Essendon are replacing the suspended players and whether or not Jobe Watson keeps his 2012 Brownlow Medal. The league has already put provisions in place for replacement players for Essendon as well as Melbourne, Port Adelaide, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs. For the latter four, they can upgrade rookies to their a rookie to their respective senior lists to replace the suspended players.

Of course, it is a bit more complicated for Essendon. However, the AFL had held meetings with Essendon and the AFLPA and came up with several resolutions:

World Court: Essendon 34 Guilty
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

Essendon's worst fears were realized on January 11 with the Court of Arbitration for Sport finding 34 past and present players guilty of taking banned substance Thymosin Beta-4. Even with backdating and time served during the provisional suspensions, the active players in both the AFL and at other levels of competition are banished until mid-November. The suspensions also mean no contact whatsoever or training with their respective clubs.Twelve of the 34 are still at Essendon while the others have either retired, been delisted and gone elsewhere or traded.

What Next For Bombed Out Bombers?
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Bombers coach James Hird celebrates with the fans after the Round 14, 2013 game played at Patersons Stadium. Photo by David Woodley for AFANA.There are three types of coaches - those who quit, those who have been sacked and those who will be sacked, with very few exceptions to the rule. In the earliest days of Australian Football there were no senior coaches. Team captains gave instructions on the field and acted as de facto coaches at training sessions. The first official senior coach was Jack Worrall who was appointed Carlton coach in 1902. Of course being the first senior coach appointed, he was also the first who was fired. He went on to be reinstated after the bookkeeping kerfuffle which saw him axed was sorted out and he was absolved of blame (he was also club secretary at the time). And so it has been ever since. If a team

Dockers Fall Over Finish Line
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Ruck Action

A couple of last minute goals to Lachie Neale and Hayden Ballantyne saw the Fremantle Dockers sneak a win over Port Adelaide Power in their Round 1 clash at Domain (formerly Patersons) Stadium in Perth. Neale’s goal was a shot on the run from 50 meters out in the last minutes of the game, while Ballantyne played on from a match winning tackle by Zac Clarke who won a free kick after chasing down Jasper Pittard in the forward 50 metre zone. A four goal contribution by Matthew Pavlich, two of which were at critical times in the final quarter, also helped the Dockers to a stirring win.

Tribunal Announces Essendon Decision
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

THE VERDICT IS IN - NOT GUILTY
The saga that has lasted over two years is finally over with the Anti-Doping Tribunal clearing all 34 players involved in the supplements program.The verdict was unanimous and in a statement Tribunal Chairman David Jones spelled out the reasons:

  • The Tribunal was comfortably satisfied that the substance Thymosin Beta-4 was at the relevant time a prohibited substance under the Code.
  • The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player was administered Thymosin Beta-4.
  • The Tribunal was not comfortably satisfied that any player violated clause 11.2 of the Anti-Doping Code.

The statement also said that a decision regarding "a former Essendon support person" (read: Stephen Dank) would be made at a later date. Whether or not the full 133-page decision document or part of it will be made public is left up to the players, the club and their lawyers. Leaked copies have apparently reached some in the media. In summary, the panel conceded there was insufficient evidence against the players to establish that they had taken TB-4 and it could not be established that the substance they were injected with was in fact, TB-4. The credibility of the key individuals involved was so low and the chain of custody and record keeping so suspect, exactly what was injected could not be proven.

Essendon Contingency Plans
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

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.

Essendon Takes ASADA to Court
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

On June 12 ASADA, after 16 months, finally took the first step towards charging Essendon players with the use of illegal substances during the club's 2012 supplements program. ASADA has issued "show cause" notices to 34 past and current Essendon players. The notices are not infraction notices, rather they are notices for the players to respond to and explain why they should not be charged. They have ten days from notification to respond. The notices refer to the use of a peptide known as thymosin Beta 4. There has been no mention of the controversial anti-obesity drug AOD-9604.

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