Overheard at Essendon: Part 3. This is a win for us?

The third in a series of covertly taped conversations between one of the 34 Essendon players with a show cause notice and an unnamed Essendon Official at the Essendon training centre. Recorded 10.15am,  Wed 3 December, 2014

Player: (knocks) Have you got a sec?

Official: Yeah sure come in. Hey, haven’t we talked before?

Player: Yes, we’ve had a few conversations about the drugs issue, what I might have been injected with, the coach’s situation, my overall concern at what’s been happening for the last few years.

Official: That’s right. You’re the bloke who always forgets to put in for Hirdy’s gift.

Player: Glad I made an impression! Anyway… I wanted to talk to you about the ASADA issue.

Official: Yeah, isn’t it great?

Player: What do you mean?

Official: They’re stuffed. I told you we’d be proven right. They haven’t got any evidence. We won, I told you we would!

Player: I’m not sure we’ve won.

Official: Trust me, it’s done and dusted.

Player: How?

Official: Well, ASADA, after having investigated for god knows how long, can’t get the witnesses to testify. There’s their so-called evidence gone. Whatever they’ve got on us, the blokes who know it won’t tell it in court, and can’t be made to. Happy days!

Player: That’s not really a win is it? I mean, that just means we’ll never know what happened.

Official: That means that players can’t be suspended and no one can prove that there was anything dodgy given to you guys – not that we ever though there was, of course. So that’s a win.

Player: So does that mean Stephen Dank was right all along, that there was nothing illegal given to me?

Official: No, Dank won’t confirm anything.

Player: Why not?

Official: I’m not sure he absolutely knows for sure. But we’re sure it wasn’t illegal.

Player: How can you be sure?

Official: Haven’t we been over this before? I swear, I’m having danger view all over again.

Player: If Dank won’t confirm, and the other witnesses who could confirm or deny if anything was illegal, aren’t compelled to talk, how can we be sure that the injections were legal or not?

Official: We’ll if they weren’t legal, they would have found out by now.

Player: But if they were legal, we could have just told ASADA that in the first place?

Official: ASADA can’t prove you are guilty, end of story.

Player: But they also can’t prove I am innocent!

Official: Well, you can’t have it all.

Player: Wouldn’t it be better if the witnesses just said what they know, and provided evidence that proved my innocence?

Official: The witnesses don’t want to say anything in case it gets them in trouble.

Player: Why would they get in trouble?

Official: In case they said something about the drugs supplied that gave the impression that they did something illegal.

Player: Like supplied illegal drugs to Stephen Dank who then injected them into me repeatedly without my or the club’s knowledge, and didn’t keep appropriate records or tell Doc Reid.

Official: Something like that.

Player: Why would the witnesses be worried about what they gave as evidence?

Official: Because one of them is already in a lot of trouble over potential drug trafficking. I think he’s termed ‘a disgraced biochemist’ and sourced the stuff from China.

Player: And this is the guy we got to help with our elite injection program?

Official: Correct. But don’t worry, he’s on our side, he’s helping is!

Player: By not telling the court or ASADA what he knows about the drugs he gave to Dank. That could clear my name.

Official: Right again! See, that means we win.

Player: So, if I understand all this right: Our CEO and President had to resign. Our coach from last year, who has won two flags and got us into the finals this season, has also gone…

Official: But we’ve replaced him with an experienced coach in Mark Neeld.

Player: We paid out a big sum of money to settle a case with our fitness guy, the footy ops manager went, we paid a huge fine, Paddy Ryder left, we missed out on draft selections, we’ve got a shocking relationship with the AFL and ASADA, opposition supporters distrust us and hate us more than ever, James Hird couldn’t coach us for twelve months, but still got paid and went to study in France…

Official: You still owe me for his gift don’t forget

Player: There’s a Board challenge to the President, we paid heaps of money to lawyers, nearly sacked James Hird, are relying on the silence of a potential criminal to help our case, and that’s a win?

Official: You won’t miss any games son; they can’t prove you took drugs.

Player: They can’t prove I didn’t though!

Official: What, this again?

Player: I have spent the last few years being accused of being a drug cheat, with the possibility of suspensions hanging over me constantly. Worse than that, I may have taken something, repeatedly, against my will, and without being informed, that could damage my health and that of any future children I have. I have lost sleep, had my trade value diminished, my family worry about me, I’ve been abused by supporters and people in the street, and because a couple of dodgy blokes won’t speak in court about what they know, I should be happy?

Official: Well, yes.

Player: Simple question for you; The day I had the injections, you will have records showing how many kicks I took at training, what my mood was when I woke up, what I ate exactly, how much I weighed before and after training, how far I ran and what time I went to sleep. There are records here on all that, for everyone one of us on the list. Do you have a record of what I was injected with?

Official: Probably not.

Player: Why only probably?

Official: Because only Stephen knows.

Player: And will he tell us.

Official: No

Player: ASADA doesn’t know, the club doesn’t know, you don’t know and I don’t know. Dank and the biochemist do know, but won’t tell. That’s kind of it isn’t it.

Official: Yes

Player: So, we’ll never know if I took an illegal substance.

Official: Right, that can never be proved. Like I said, we win!

Player: I’d hate to see what a loss looked like. (Door slams)

Official: Again, he got away without paying. I need to talk to payroll about getting that present money.

See the bombers fly up, up…..


Fade to black (and red)

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Perfect and so sad


  2. Lee Wallis says

    Ummm. They did tell ASADA the supplements were legal. It’s just ASADA and media didn’t want to hear.

  3. Brilliant encapsulation of the whole opera, Sean.
    Lee, they told ASADA, “We don’t believe anything illegal was taken.” In the next breath admitted they have no records of what was or wasn’t taken. Why would ASADA or the media want to hear? Given bland, unsubstantiated statements as proof of innocence we could do away with the justice system altogether.
    “Offisher, I don’t bleeve I have drunk twenty schooners.”
    “Right you are. Drive on then.”

  4. Nailed it again Sean. Cleese and Palin would sizzle with this one

  5. Neil Anderson says

    I hope Clarke and Dawe survive the ABC budget cuts if they are the guys you copied so brilliantly with that piece of satire. Even after watching the news tonight about key witnesses not wanting to appear in court and trying to understand what the hell is going on there, it still remains a mystery for this basic Almanacker.

  6. Brilliant Sean. You have a way of capturing all the contradictions.
    Great news all round from my viewpoint. Essendon escaping on a technicality, gives Litza and I at least another 5 years of ranting at Hird and his scavenging hangers-on. The usual sham trial and slap on the wrist may have embarrassed me into moving on in 6 months time.
    I cannot recall despising anyone in Australian sport as much as I despise Hird. I see from the AFL draw that the scum have 2 games at Subi next year (I wonder if Les will lend me a purple scarf for the day?)
    Leading 40,000 people in booing Hird and Co for 4 quarters, while Bruce tut-tutted is my most enjoyable fan experience of recent years. And now I get 2 shots at it in 2015. Must plan my leave so I can be at the airport when Il Duce arrives.

  7. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Absolutely brilliant and so spot on thanks , Sean

  8. With your permission Sean, I’m having it laminated and gift wrapped for all my Essendon friends this Christmas- the gift that keeps on giving.

    And, I don think I’m being presumptuous here, on behalf of all the Almanac Philosophers & Visionaries, in thanking the EFC & ASADA for wonderful two years of material. We really couldn’t have made it through without them some weeks. Those weeks when Mick was on a prescribed course of Valium, the Oval Office was closed for rpaint job and Paul Roos had given a month’s assurance that he’d stay at Melbourne till his next pay cheque cleared the bank, there was always The Flying Syringes to fall back on. For that we are forever grateful.

    Which raises the question: have we reached peak ASADA? And what are we going to hone our collective Almanac wits on when Hurruicane Hird finally blows itself out? But let’s worry about that when it happens, eh?

  9. Wrapster, please proceed, happy to assist at Christmas. Like you, I think this has been what it must have been like for US comedians when Reagan, Clinton and George W all got second terms. Four More Years of stand up material for them. Yes, EFC and ASADA, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Peter B, if this goes as it looks like it might and we get Hird saying “I told you so” I’ll spew up.

    Neil, Clarke and Dawes? Not sure comparing me to a short lived and untimately (sadly) unsuccessful Melbourne ruck/forward line set up is all that good.


  10. Neil Anderson says

    Quite right about Clarke and Dawes Sean. I should have gone for Neiter and the Ox to compare you to. A couple of Demon biting satirists from the nineties.

  11. DBalassone says

    Nice work Sea, but there must be something wrong here – this is piece about ASADA but there is no comment from Richard Ings anywhere in it.

  12. Lovely Lisa says

    Very clever but, sadly very true.

  13. Barb Smith says

    I have just forwarded this article to all my football-loving friends.
    Spot-on and an enjoyable read, Sean.
    Even if ASADA’s case falls over at the next hurdle, it won’t be over.
    This mini-series has WAAAY further to go. Lovin’ it!

  14. Kevin Martin says


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