The most recent development in the ongoing Dons 34 drama is a proposal by former coach Mick Malthouse to development a structured training regimen for six of the suspended players as a way of keeping them in some semblance of form for when they are able to return to the AFL in 2017.
It seems like a prime case of finding loopholes in the regulations as the bans handed out prohibit the players from being coached or assisted in any way by any teams or personnel that are in any way affiliated with the WADA. Malthouse, who has coached more AFL/VFL games than anyone in history, satisfies those criteria.
Malthouse would enlist the assistance of David Buttifant, his long-time fitness specialist.
No active coaches would risk sanction by interacting with the banned players, so Malthouse’s end-around smacks somewhat of blatant defiance of the AFL and the WADA. For him to jump into the mix before the Swiss Federal Court has a chance to rule on the appeal filed by the suspended players is an affront to the officials who are trying to restore integrity to the game following Essendon’s rule-skirting supplements program that was uncovered after the 2012 season.
Malthouse was rather vague concerning any specific details of his proposal, such as who would pay for the program, where it would be held, and other pertinent details.