Essendon's Top-up Team Trying Hard as Club Continues Off Field Battle

It may be some time before we see the Bombers best side as the club's Anti Doping Scandal continues to drag on. Until then Essendon's top-up team will continue to fly the flag.

Drugs Decision, Anti Doping Scandal, Asada Ordeal… Call it what you want but the process to deal with the Essendon football club’s drugs debacle has been long and drawn-out. So it’s no surprise those on the AFL Tribunal have made it clear that a conclusion to the saga could come after the AFL season begins in April. The players believe the evidence is not strong enough to prove they were given thymosin beta 4 during the 2012 supplements program, as the case continues. But as each player must be dealt with separately the findings won’t be fast. As the 17 players still at Essendon will remain provisionally suspended, Bombers fans will have to get use to cheering on the club’s top-up team for now.

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Better Bombers News

There may be better news for Bombers regarding their side ahead of their second NAB Challenge game. Brendon Goddard, James Gwilt, Adam Cooney, Paddy Ambrose, Joe Daniher and Zach Merrett could play against Greater Western Sydney on Friday night, with the AFL considering lifting a ban on the six players. Essendon once again found themselves in the AFL’s naughty corner after the group were going to feature in a practise match with the rest of the 2012 squad last Friday night instead of lining up in the Bombers already depleted unit against St Kilda in the club’s opening pre-season fixture. The senior players are set to start against the Giants though, should they be allowed.

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Top-up Team Tries Hard

While Essendon’s top-up team wasn’t disgraced in their first NAB Challenge match at the weekend, they were certainly no match for last year’s wooden spooners. James Hird’s return to coaching after a 12 month suspension wasn’t likely to be a winning one and the Saints barely raised a sweat as they secured a comfortable 50 point victory. The rag tag Bombers battled for three quarters before being overran in the fourth period. The Bombers bunch of imports, former AFL players and VFL stars showed character despite the defeat. Former Saints onballer Clint Jones and ex-Geelong man Mitch Brown were particularly impressive for the losers.

You’d expect the Bombers will be better when they take on Greater Western Sydney and both clubs will be happy if the Dons patched together team can put up a fight for all four quarters. GWS swamped the Suns by 36 points in their opening NAB Challenge game, booting 14 goals in the process. The Giants forwards could find themselves having plenty of shooting practise once again. The match will take place at Spotless Stadium in Sydney.