Essendon’s AFL season won’t be derailed by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal, insists defiant skipper Jobe Watson.
Watson said the 34 past and present players exonerated by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal in March had been looking forward to moving on, but backed their resilience to meet this latest challenge.
“It’s going to be a difficult process but it’s not something that we haven’t been through before,” Watson said on Tuesday.
“The club’s stayed firm, the players have held together, we’ve had incredible support from our fans – unfortunately people have been through this before.
“We’ve been through court cases and we’ve handled it for 26-27 months, so I think the players, unfortunately, know how to deal with it because we’ve been living through it.”
Watson spoke to reporters just hours after WADA announced their intention to appeal the verdict at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The players will meet with their legal representatives to learn more about how the appeal process will play out, but Watson remains confident they will have their names cleared once again.
“Given that we were found to be not guilty already then you can only put your faith in the judicial system and that has already occurred – we were found not guilty,” he said.
“It was always a possibility that the side that lost could appeal and that’s happened.
“Obviously we’re in the middle of a season and we need to be able to play and perform and prepare well to do that.”