Bombers, Weapons and Tanks

Please tell me it’s all a dream. I hope it is. I cannot believe what’s happening at the moment. My head just cannot get around the issue and understand what’s going on.
I felt so helpless when the alleged doping issue at Essendon first came to light. I still do. And my deep gutted feeling is that it’s not going to go away in a hurry. Misery again for Bomber supporters!

After the nightmare of the last couple of seasons suffered by the loyal supporters of this great club we now have the scandal of doping raising its ugly head.
I’ve been supporting my beloved Essendon for more than fifty years and in a matter of twelve months it appears the Dynamic Duo of Robinson and Danks have allegedly caused the possibility for many of our players to be banned from playing this wonderful game of AFL football for an extensive period of time. What a catastrophe it will be if that eventuates. My beloved team will be decimated. Who can forget the salary cap saga when we had to trade three premiership players and the penalty of missing out on draft picks because of this. It set the team back years and we still haven’t recovered from that hiccup. So imagine the effect of the team being banned! There would be no Essendon! Disastrous.

Did the expectation of our supporters for the “dream team” of Hird and Thompson to fulfil our wish for an immediate premiership put undue pressure on them to achieve this goal? Did the Essendon Football Club really want to win at all costs or did they get carried away by the reputations of what certain persons could do for our club if they were employed by the Bombers to support the coaches? Support staff in place then the team will do the rest, onwards and upwards to a premiership, or so it seemed.

But maybe we are getting carried away and a little bit ahead of ourselves here. Surely the supplements being introduced to the players on such a broad scale had to be above board or they would have been quickly picked up in the random drug tests administered by the AFL. It just seems so incongruous to me that someone would dope on such a large scale and at such an elite level and not be found out. Why would anyone be so stupid to do so? In individual cases maybe but not whole teams. Too many reputations at risk for it to be plausible, or at least I certainly hope that is the case. And, I cannot believe that Dr Bruce Reid who has been an institution at Essendon for so long would not be aware of what was being injected into the players under his medical care, or am I just naive to think he didn’t know. I would also think there are enough intelligent people in the hierarchy at Essendon to ask questions if there were any concerns whatsoever about the legality of what the players might be taking. And the players themselves, surely they’d asked questions about what they were being given, wouldn’t they? If someone is injecting stuff into my body I’d want to know what it is. If not, something is horribly wrong with the setup at the club. However I don’t think that is the case but many questions are going to be asked in the coming weeks.

The nightmare will remain and my understanding of the situation will improve over the next few days but I have a feeling football is about to change and change in a big way forever. A lot is going to happen in the coming weeks and months.

About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Andrew Weiss says


    You bring up a good point about the expectation supporters can put on their team for success and what could happen because of it. I wrote an article late last year on the web site suggesting the same thing – that maybe supporters need to take some of the blame when these things happen after the Kirt Tippett saga with the Crows.

    Thats one of the great things about supporting your team – going through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and always looking for that reason to think that the next premiership is just around the corner.

    It is also probably why I quite often enjoy watching a great game of footy between two teams I have no affiliation with compared to watching my own team play and the emotional rolller coaster this will quite often bring.

  2. We live in strange times. The Dees are being pinged for not tryint, the Bombers for trying too hard. Where’s the happy medium?

    I feel like I’m a kid again whose just found out that Santa isn’t real.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Colin, I think you nailed in the last main paragraph. Surely, the brains trust wouldn’t be so stupid to allow this to happen. Would they? Surely they would’ve been caught. Surely? we may find out soon.

  4. Andrew Else says

    I’ve had people telling me for years that Kyle Reimers is a peanut, but now suddenly his word is oak.

    The colourful backstories of the med staff is the issue more than anything.

    Just enjoy the ride Colin. There will be 22 blokes running out for Essendon every week for this season and for the next one and so on, and no matter what happens we’ll be stronger for it.

  5. Jeff Dowsing says

    Like the Y2K bug and the Mayan prophecies, I don’t think the repurcussions will be as dire as many think. It would appear that if in fact the players had taken banned substances they were lied to by club staff in positions of authority (also assuming the players had also actually asked what they were taking). That would be a severe reprimand I’d have thought, even under draconian ASADA/WADA rules.

  6. Is there an election going on?

  7. Eddie Maguire is not going to like this – the back page belongs to the Pies 3 days a week and the quota is not being met.

  8. Dave Nadel says

    The Essendon players were asked to sign consent forms which were not explaned to them, I find that sinister. Any employer who asks his/her employees to sign unexplained consent forms is up to no good. I am prepared to believe that Evans, Hird and Dr Reid did not intentionally do anything wrong but they clearly didn’t supervise Robinson and Dank properly.

  9. Is “trying too hard” (Mark Doyle) the same as “whatever it takes”(Essendon club culture)?
    Surely there are shared values and a common sense of what constitutes fair play which underpin our great sporting code.
    If an individual sportsperson breaks the rules, we may well understand his personal weakness in the face of powerful temptations to gain an unfair advantage, but nevertheless he stands condemned as a cheat. Marion Jones went to jail. Lance Armstrong is universally reviled, but still dodging justice.
    If, as has been alleged, a whole team has systematically adopted a doping regime, then we are in an alien universe. This is not sport, it is organised crime. Football is big business these days.
    If the allegations are proven to be true, individual players may face automatic WADA two year suspensions, but generally be regarded as unwitting cheats. What is the prognosis for an organisation found guilty of such criminal behaviour?
    Is forgiveness an option?

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