Essendon Tops Up Its Playing List With 5 Ex-AFL Players

Keanu Reeves would be proud. Not at all unlike the plot of the kinda terrible but still entirely enjoyable – and frankly underrated – 2000 film The Replacements, the Essendon Football Club has begun bringing in ringer players in its hour of great need.

The club will be without 25 of its senior playing list for at least the first two weeks of the NAB Challenge pre-season fixtures, due to provisional suspensions being served by as many as 18 players whilst the AFL Tribunal deliberates its findings over the on-going ASADA ordeal, with the others voluntarily sitting out to protect player anonymity. The AFL Commission ruled that the Bombers must take part in the fixtures regardless, but in doing so allowed them to supplement their list by adding in temporary top-up players.
The rules state that players can be sourced from the VFL or other state leagues, or via delisted or retired AFL players who have been out of the system for 1-2 years.
The Dons have unveiled the first five names that’ll be pulling on a temporary red sash for the club, all of whom are former Big Leaguers.
Former Geelong forward Mitch Brown, ex-Demons players James Magner and Mitch Clisby, St Kilda‘s delisted tagger Clint Jones, and ex-Adelaide jet Jared Petrenko have all verbally agreed to play for the Bombers in the pre-season, pending the completion of medical examinations. Former Magpie rookie-lister, and current Coburg player Michael Hartley is also expected to follow suit, meaning the Bombers will only require another five-to-six additional players to complete a competitive list for the NAB Challenge.
The players are so-far contracted for the first two NAB Challenge games, but contingency preparations are being made in the event that the Tribunal hands down suspensions to the senior playing list that extend into the regular season.
The AFL has allowed temporary salary cap allowances for the Bombers to pay the ring-in players, but this – again – does not yet extend into the season proper.
I don’t know much about anything, but I know for certain that there’s a movie in all of this, and I know that Gene Hackman should play Kevin Sheedy.
A wise man once said, “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever.” Remember that, lads.
Photo: Chris Hyde via Getty Images.