In a stunning reversal of the AFL Tribunal decision that cleared the 34 current and former Essendon players last March, ASADA has displayed little compassion by finding ALL players involved in the 2012 scandal GUILTY - Claiming that its invesitgators are satisfied that the players had knowingly taken the banned substance thymosin beta-4 in 2012.
While the players were handed mandatory two-year bans from March 31, 2015, and were found to be significantly at fault, CAS indicated that most of the 34 would be suspended until November 13 this year, depending on the backdating that applies in each case.
The ruling means that, barring any further legal appeals, most players will miss all of the 2016 season, in a judgment that is disastrous for both Essendon and the AFL.
Essendon will be without Watson and many of their premier players, such as Dyson Heppell, Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker, Michael Hibberd and Brent Stanton, along with Travis Colyer, David Myers, Tom Bellchambers, Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett and Tayte Pears. Exactly half of the 34 are no longer playing AFL football.
The AFL Commission is also facing an imminent decision on whether to strip Bombers skipper Jobe Watson of his 2012 Brownlow.
The decision doesn't just affect Essendon.
Port Adelaide will be without their ex-Bombers Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries for the relevant period, while the Bulldogs will lose Stewart Crameri and St Kilda and Melbourne will be deprived of recruits Jake Carlisle and Jake Melksham respectively.