Stewart Crameri

More Retirements And Delistings
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago 

With the trade period concluded, clubs embarked on the next phase of list changes in the form of delistings. Two veterans, Shane Mumford and Travis Cloke also announced their retirements.

Banned Bombers Lose Appeal
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 by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The Swiss Court For Arbitration in Sport (CAS) has dismissed the appeal filed by the 34 former and current Essendon players. The player were initially cleared by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal, but WADA's appeal to CAS overturned that verdict and the players then launched their appeal against the banishment. With the penalty backdated to account for procedural delays, the players were effectively ruled out of the entire 2016 season.

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.

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.

Young Bulldogs Come Of Age
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

The Round Three clash between Richmond and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium was expected by most to be one-way traffic with the Tigers having won the last three encounters by an average margin of 66 points. Despite their recent domination, the enthusiasm of the Tigers was dampened somewhat by the news that stellar midfielder Brett Deledio would miss his first game in over five seasons, an incredible record in modern Australian Rules Football. An Achilles injury suffered in the Tigers' tight win over Carlton was the culprit. Shaun Hampson would also miss for Richmond, meaning third string ruckman Orren Stephenson would be required to take the bulk of the ruck duties against the Bulldogs' Will Minson, one of the best ruckmen in the business. The Western Bulldogs went into the clash unchanged from the team that showed plenty of spirit against North Melbourne in Round Two, before being run over in the final quarter by a fast finishing Kangaroo outfit.

Dreamtime Nightmare For Tigers
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Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Off field distractions haunted both teams in the lead-up to “Dreamtime at the G”, with Essendon players continuing to be interviewed by ASADA and Tiger Alex Rance in court to face his one time acquaintance turned stalker. There were further problems on the injury front for Richmond, with young Tiger Brandon Ellis pulling out with a hamstring injury incurred at training prior to the big match.

Round Ten Milestones
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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Brent Harvey (NM) will be the 13th player in VFL/AFL history to reach 350 games in Round 10. The leaders are Michael Tuck (426 games, HAW), Kevin Bartlett (403 games, RICH), Robert Harvey (383, StK), Simon Madden (378, ESS), Craig Bradley 375, CARL), Dustin Fletcher (371, ESS), Bernie Quinlan (366, Footscray and Fitzroy), Brad Johnson (364, WB), John Blakey (359, Fitzroy and NM), Bruce Doull (356, CARL), Paul Roos (356, Fitzroy and Sydney), and Doug Hawkins (350, Footscray and Fitzroy).

Bombers Snatch Thriller
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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth

Essendon pulled off the "come from behind" win of the century at Patersons Stadium against the heavily fancied Fremantle Dockers. In what passes for rain these days in a drought-ridden Perth, steady drizzle fell over the ground to make conditions less than perfect for skillful football. The imperfect conditions

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