Is Essendon. Is Good.

Andrew Sutherland Roar Guru

By Andrew Sutherland, Andrew Sutherland is a Roar Guru

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20 Have your say

    Like their Melbourne Storm counterparts in 2010, Essendon supporters may soon be forced to ask an important question: If one component of your club -the playing group, the coaching staff or the administration – does something wrong do you continue to support it for the sake of the innocent components?

    After the events of the past fortnight it must have been heartening for the Bombers players to hear the intense cheering that greeted them as they jogged towards the goal square to begin the warm-up for their first game of the NAB Cup.

    The type of supporter cherished by players is the one who doesn’t go missing when the team is down.

    Three years ago Etihad Stadium hosted the Melbourne Storm the week after its salary cap rorting had been uncovered. Shamed, its recent history stripped from the records, and playing the rest of the season for no points, one of the biggest crowds in the club’s history turned out.

    The unexpected support shown by the fans (motivated by a number of factors, but mainly a love of the club and support for those who were not complicit in the deeds of the administrators) buoyed the players and was a significant factor in the club surviving and redeeming itself with a legitimate premiership two years later.

    Unlike the Storm, of course, we don’t know if anything unsavoury was done at Essendon; if the players imbibed supplements infused with growth hormone stimulants, anabolic steroids or EPO – let alone who was ultimately responsible.

    If the players were given such supplements by the club’s then revered fitness advisers and told they were legitimate, they do not deserve to suffer for it, as per WADA’s ruthless ‘ignorance is no excuse’ rule.

    The supporters seem to agree hence the rapturous response given to the players on Friday night.

    They were given an equally positive response by their coach after the final game against Collingwood – which they lost inside the final minute.

    Until the drug investigation is resolved, unfortunately, the Essendon Football Club is going to play second fiddle to an anti doping agency.

    Even the Fox Sports coverage unintentionally screamed: “Essendon are smaller this year because they’re no longer on steroids!”.

    There were the seemingly innocent comments (with before and after photos) about the players having “leaned up unbelievably well” since last season.

    And Paul Roos on Mark Thompson’s attempts to replicate in his new charges the solid builds of his former Geelong premiership players: “Geelong were a big powerful football team. But sometimes that’s natural. It is hard to manufacture that on kids”.

    A tired and emaciated-looking James Hird showed an understandable frustration with the endless references to the investigation but wanted it known that: “I’ve been so proud of the players at Essendon for the last 10 days. They have just shown a strength of character that not many people have”.

    They were impressive on the field too. The marking strength of this team is quite astonishing and they still have the 201cm father-son recruit Joe Daniher to come.

    Despite the slimmer builds and their Brownlow Medallist captain sitting in the coaches box they were tough in the contests and had excellent finishers in Brent Stanton, Dyson Heppell and Leroy Jetta.

    The players and supporters proved their worth on Friday night. The rest of the club hasn’t yet, but things are beginning to look better at Bomberland.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • February 17th 2013 @ 11:21am
      Shaun said | February 17th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Will stick by the bombers whatever happens. Always have and always will support the club.

    • February 17th 2013 @ 11:22am
      Swampy said | February 17th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      I’m an Essendon supporter but if there was systematic doping at the club I would hope that Essendon, players and all are found guilty and given a severe penalty.

      A stand needs to be taken and cheating cannot be part of the Australian landscape.

      I hope the club is not guilty for my own selfish reasons of having a team to support.

      If the evidence is conclusive however, Essendon should be banned, as a whole, for 2 years. It is what I would expect if the club was not one I supported.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

      • February 17th 2013 @ 9:10pm
        Floreat Pica said | February 17th 2013 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

        The only positive I could think of to the club being banned would be if Tassie was offered the spare slot.

    • February 17th 2013 @ 11:25am
      Pollock said | February 17th 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      It seems that sporting clubs (not just AFL) can condone poor behaviour yet still maintain the faith and support of its fans. That is part of the beauty of sports, and also mystery for non supporters who from a rational view ask why it happens.

    • February 17th 2013 @ 11:59am
      Adam said | February 17th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      No one has returned a positive drug sample to the public.

      we need evidence and facts before we can condemn anyone or any team, every one is sitting there trying to accuse people or being guilty but there is no proof. it was essendon that went to the afl and the WADA, and asked to be investigated. weather they are guilty or not we need evidence that they are, players and people who are and who arnt involved in the taking of drugs, lively hoods are at stake.

      so let the crime commission do their job and chase down the evidence, if could fizzle out to nothing or could be the biggest thing to his sport

    • February 17th 2013 @ 6:22pm
      David Nelson said | February 17th 2013 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

      There is as much evidence presented that Essendon have broken drug rules as there is that you’ve committed murder!
      Given your expectations maybe you could place yourself in jail until someone can prove you are not a murderer?!!

      • February 17th 2013 @ 9:12pm
        Floreat Pica said | February 17th 2013 @ 9:12pm | ! Report

        Ha- fans of ‘The Wire’ should appreciate the comment above.. Nice work Omar.

      • February 17th 2013 @ 10:41pm
        Adam said | February 17th 2013 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

        like what? every essendon play has taken peptides? its been states no player has returned a postive test,
        stephan dank was accused of administering illegal preforming drugs, when working with essendon, then his time at geelong should of come in to question, afger his interview on the abc, every one is convinced he did nothing wrong
        6 nrl clubs aparently doped their players
        there are 150 odd players that the wada and crimes commission are after and mentoring.

        the whole situation has become a farse & a total joke buy the media and idiots jumping on the band wagon.

        so if essendon has broken the rules(insert here the evidence ) then they should face the consequences, but what is they havent done anything wrong?

        • February 18th 2013 @ 11:55am
          Mendip said | February 18th 2013 @ 11:55am | ! Report

          Your comment about the Storm drawing a big crowd after their Salary cap revelations needs some comment. The story bust open the week before the Storm played at home to the Warriors on Anzac day – their big game of the year with no AFL competition at night and plenty of NZers in Melbourne and they even booked out Etihad for the game (they played the rest of their games at not yet named AAMI that year). The timing of the salary cap breach announcement was always interesting given that the owners intention was trying gain southern support for their team with those filthy NSW northerners punishing our team. The joke was of course that the 1/2 owned NRL by News Ltd punished the fully owned News Ltd Storm in order to boost interest so News could sell the team and get out of RL.

    • February 17th 2013 @ 7:00pm
      Floyd Calhoun said | February 17th 2013 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

      I think that’s being a little harsh.

      • February 17th 2013 @ 8:45pm
        Floyd Calhoun said | February 17th 2013 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

        Referring to Omar the Hanging Judge I mean.

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