The people of Melbourne respond to Justice Middleton’s ruling

Justice Middleton, now being sought as a BBC dramatist for his ability to give complicating signposts in his narrative, has ruled against James Hird and Essendon.

Here is how Melbourne responded:


SEN Listener:  Yeah but who does Justice Middleton barrack for?

MMM Listener:  Yeah, but we’ll wait to hear what Eddie thinks?

3AW Listener:  Don’t bother me now, we’re about to be invaded.

774 Listener: Yeah, whatever Justice Middleton said.

Radio National Listener:  I think Justice Middleton’s discussion of the word ‘joint’ lacked depth.

RRR Listener: The law is so over-rated

927 Listener: Is the result of the photo through?


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About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. I thought the 774 listener would be saying QUINOA!???

  2. The People's Elbow says

    Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999…

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Yeh a club in more shit than the Crows

  4. How much schadenfreude can one club coach and president dish up?

  5. It will be interesting to watch how Mark Robinson climbs down from his righteous preacher man ‘I love James and so should you’ message.

  6. Perth Listener ABC 720: Maybe now we can stop going down the flanks and finessin and head straight up the guts to see if the Bombers hit the juice.

    Perth Listener Nova: Who is James Hird? Is he Justin Bieber’s back up dancer??

    Perth Listener 882 6pr: Clearly Middleton is no fan of injecting for a tan and a stiffy.

  7. Federal Court Judge: And what Law are you basing this argument on?
    Darryl Kerrigan: The Law of bloody common sense!

  8. RICHARD INGS – Have i mentioned that I used to run ASADA
    JOHN FAHEY – told ya
    TIM WATSON – I have no son
    KYLE and JACKIE O – Has Justice Middleton had a boob job?
    Mix 101.1 breakfast – Let’s talk about Tania Hird’s lovely new boots
    ROY MASTERS – you AFL people, serves you right, not in the great game of rugby league, Cronulla copped their right wack
    GERARD WHATELY – Did i mention Black Caviar had a foal?

  9. Bombers should have hired Johnnie Cochran.

  10. couldn’t care less.

  11. Neil Anderson says

    I’m picturing James Hird forlornly checking out one of his pool-rooms eying off all the souvenirs from Paris…the gold-plated model of the Eiffel Tower etc, wondering if he should have blown that million after all. And then really panicking when Tania storms into the room with a handful of receipts and a bill from Justice Middleton.

  12. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    5AA listener: does that mean we now get to play off for the 1993 flag?

  13. The People's Elbow says

    Really, Dips? This is my Grand Final.

  14. MTR… Hello?….is there anyone out there? …HELLO!
    3GL…. We believe Harold Holt has gone missing

  15. Hird: *picks up phone* Now back to that tennis bizzo…..

  16. Just read the judgment (in preparation for being fun at parties). Hird’s middle name is Albert. Also Aurora Andruska will be very happy with the ruling. Given Essendon & Hird’s attempts to paint her as evasive and hostile, Middleton says she was a considered and competent administrator.

  17. Wacky Breakfast Crew host- So make your way down to Windy Hill, we’re giving away icy cold cans of Coke.

  18. Dan Sergeant says

    To quote the great Darryl Kerrigan. “Suffer in your jocks…..ya dickhead”.
    I suppose the bombres will know go cap in hand to the afl wanting money for the financial hole they’ve got themselves into.

  19. Golly. The law got in the way of a good story.

  20. More journos can now jump on he asaada waada blah, blah, get the hell out of the way of the blah blah journos now about to hijack the bloody grand final!! Especially Robbo of the herald sun

  21. Plenty of laughs in those comments.

    I believe Essendon FC have contacted Prince Leonard of Hutt.

  22. Didn’t Justice Middleton drive a wooden stake through the heart of the spin doctors. You can discredit potential witnesses all you like in the media, but the clear-thinking of the law is a different matter. Apart from everything else the judge has given a clear timeline of events and a clear explanation of what the powers of each party were. I also thought his explanation of the notion of ‘joint’ was a powerful way to open a long explanation. Discourse is a powerful thing and so many months of media using the term joint had to have had an effect. He pierced that early.

  23. The flogs from Bomber Blitz: ……………umm………………………

    And in continuing the ‘The Castle’ theme –

    Someone to Caroline Wilson: Caro, you haven’t let anyone down. I don’t know what the opposite of lettin’ someone down is… but you done the opposite

    Anyone happy with Justice Middleton’s verdict to the flogs from Bomber Blitz: How’s the serenity?

  24. “Hi its Tania from Toorak. Long time listener. First time caller. What do you think for the appeal? I’m inclined to go for the black patent leather raincoat with matching decolletage this time. They tell me the Full Bench is more dominatrix. I went camel matt for Middleton, because they told me he liked demure. Won’t be making that mistake again.”

  25. Well done Justice Middleton. Two bloody years of “drug jokes” and two bloody years of the Essendon Football Club pouring money into lawyers pockets. The football club should have accepted that they did the wrong thing way back then and taken their punishment. So lets cop it now. No more appeals. Remove the dodgy buggers who engineered this “brilliant” idea immediately, so next season we can start will a clean bill of health. The players , if we have any left and supporters deserve it.

  26. The Honourable Justice Middleton’s judgement brings the issue right back to the original concern, as published in this paper:

    Essendon has been crying foul for two years now, while all the time refusing to answer a very basic question. Show us what was injected and we’ll go away. That they haven’t been able to do that, or don’t want to means the question hangs in the air, ever present.

    Justice Middleton’s judgement has thwarted Essendon’s latest attempt to not answer questions. Here are some tidbits from his judgement.

    From point 21: “The investigation of ASADA, the subject of these proceedings, I have found was for the purpose of investigating anti-doping violations. In addition, as I will indicate, the nature and conduct of the investigation was lawful.”

    From point 24: “In any event, by actually being in the interview room, knowing that AFL personnel were present, being aware that the Player Rules were applicable to the interview process, and by responding to each and every question, it can hardly be said that Mr Hird and the Essendon players and personnel did not knowingly consent to any information being disclosed then and there to all in the interview room.”

    From point 28: “There is no suggestion in these proceedings that Mr Hird or any of the 34 Players did not understand the nature of the contractual obligations undertaken, or the rights they were giving up, in return for the right or privilege to play or coach AFL football for Essendon in the AFL competition.”

    From point 34: “On the evidence before the Court, the investigation disclosed a strong link between deficient governance and management practices at Essendon and the possibility of Essendon players being involved in anti-doping violations.”

    From point 36: “Therefore, the poor governance and management practices at Essendon were related to possible anti-doping violations by Essendon players, to the extent that such violations may have been systemic, or may have occurred because proper governance and management practices were not in place. This seems to have been the very situation that existed at Essendon.”

    From point 52: “By way of conclusion, in my view, ASADA complied with the rule of law in establishing and conducting, in the manner and for the purposes it did, the investigation.”

    And point 54: “On the basis of the reasons I now publish, the applications of Mr Hird and Essendon are dismissed.”

    Middleton has found that the original reason ASADA had for pursing Essendon was legal and reasonable. Go figure! Essendon has wasted two years and a lot of money and goodwill just because they couldn’t ‘fess up. Their own internal report was damning. Middleton’s judgement confirms what we had figured out 18 months ago. Still, we had to put up with Essendon’s ‘thou doth protest too much’ handling of the matter.

    And we are still waiting for Hird’s ‘truth’ to come to the surface.

    Until then, this has been a very good next step to expunge a dubious practice and have Essendon (hopefully) finally do the right thing and own up.


  27. Greetings all from sunny Washington! Most people here are more concerned with the Scottish referendum or ISIL, but I have never woken and tuned my iphone on to find such satisfying news from back home! To follow E.regnans’ example and borrow a line from The Castle:
    “this has restored my faith in our legal system.”

    Of course, the AFL should have shown some sort of conscience from Day 1 and said “the club is guilty, the players are innocent – so we’re suspending the club for 5 years and putting all their players (under their existing contracts) in the Draft to disperse them amongst the other 17 clubs.” ASADA might have left the players only if they saw that the real guilty party was being properly dealt with.

    But the league’s wet lettuce leaf, ‘sweep it under the carpet’ approach to Essendon has meant that the only way ‘justice’ gets down to the club is via the players. They are the sad collateral damage.

  28. Apparently Prince Leonard referred Hirdy and Little to Atticus Finch for their appeal against the Federal Court decision but he declined. Something about having to draw the line somewhere. Boo Radley wasn’t interested either.

    Cheers, Burkie

  29. Hey Rick – nice question, I had forgotten Robbo had told us Jimmy and the boys would all be in the clear once the real truth comes out. Is it out yet?

  30. Sal Ciardulli says

    Can see the Working Dog team planning their next movie!

  31. Hey Neil, the truth isn’t out yet, but a search party is finally being mustered.
    The smoke and mirrors trick delayed the search, but the judge sent the lawyers home so the posse can get started. Should be lotsa fun!

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