While the Dons 34 scandal had mostly negative consequences to all parties, in the case of one player who had been steered unwillingly into retirement, an opportunity arose out of the aftermath.
That player is Nathan Grima, the latest top-up for Essendon.
Grima made his debut with North Melbourne in 2009 at the advanced age of nearly 24. He played 86 games for the Roos up until the end of the 2014 season, and then left in the middle of the season after a career plagued by back issues.
He is the ninth player to sign as the Bombers top-up. At 30 years of age currently, he is not as advanced in years as some of the other top-up players engaged by Essendon, but he would seem to present an iffy proposition for the club due to three back surgeries and knee, foot and ankle problems.
Grima reports feeling rejuvenated after his Christmas spell and has passed medical screening and trials to determine his fitness. He dismisses negative opinions concerning his choice to return to the AFL after having discs in his back fused.
Grima will have big boots to fill in the key defender role he will take on in place of Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker and it is expected that he will serve as a mentor Essendon’s young list.