by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
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. "It's been said that we've tried to suppress evidence, we've tried to hide things, but that's far from the truth ... the decision the Federal Court made, we believe the rights of our players, support staff and every Australian athlete are less than the normal Australian ... we still believe our players weren't treated the way they should have been treated with confidentiality and certain aspects that the average Australian is given ... It's been very disappointing ... we hope we get the chance to get on and do what we do best and that's play football." He said he hoped the players are cleared.
In related news, Essendon has signed two more ex-AFL players as replacements for those who will be sitting out the preseason games. Sam Michael and James Polkinghorne, both of whom played for Brisbane, were signed at the end of February. Michael, a tall key position player and ruckman played three games for the Lions in 2013 and was delisted at the end of 2014. Polkinghorne, elevated from the VFL, played 94 games 2008-2014 as a small forward/midfielder for Brisbane. Polkinghorne returned to Victoria and Essendon's VFL team after being delisted by Brisbane.
Michael, 21, hopes his stint with Essendon will lead to a second permanent chance at AFL level. He was set to play in the NEAFL but is now considering remaining with the Bombers after his temporary contract expires on March 18. Current assistant coach Mark Harvey coached Michael when both were at Brisbane and the Bombers' current football manager Rob Kerr was Brisbane's list manager at the time. Michael said he was looking forward to the opportunity and having fun.
The Tribunal is expected to hand down their decisions in about three weeks, which would coincide with Essendon's third NAB match.
Article last changed on Monday, March 02, 2015 - 5:26 AM EST