Hird avoids media after training session
Mystery after James Hird was replaced at short notice by assistant coach Simon Goodwin at a press conference expected to be fronted by the Essendon coach.PT2M6S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2sgal 620 349 August 23, 2013
AFL Players Association chief Matt Finnis says Essendon players would require long-term monitoring of their health after growing uncertainty about the impact the Bombers' controversial supplement injection program may have on their lives.
Bombers coach James Hird, who on Friday morning pulled out of a press conference only five minutes before the scheduled start with a club spokesman saying he was "stuck in meetings", senior assistant Mark Thompson, doctor Bruce Reid and football chief Danny Corcoran have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute for their alleged poor governance of the program.
We've got to be calm, we've got to be really methodical about this
There has been widespread speculation about potential health risks to the players and Finnis told 3AW that such reports were "(not) helpful" but monitoring had to be implemented.
AFL Players Association chief Matt Finnis
"We've got to be calm, we've got to be really methodical about this," Finnis said.
"The players will need the best advice they can receive, there will need to be monitoring, there will need to be procedures put in place around that and that's work the Association has been doing and will continue to do."
"It is something that we've been working through and we've been taking advice for some time now and we think that's absolutely necessary to do and that will need to be done in conjunction with the club and AFL."
"... Clearly there's evidence here that suggests breaches of work health and safety laws and they need to be considered and that's not just to ensure that things are okay now at Essendon but to ensure we send a strong message to all workplaces that we're not going to pick and choose when employees health and safety will be protected."
He also said the AFLPA had spoken to player managers several months ago about the players' rights to walk out on the club.
"Like any employee you've got a right to terminate your contract when the obligations owed to you are breached," Finnis said. "Personally my view is I just think it's too early to be speculating on contractual issues when our focus is far more on the health of players."
Hird launched Supreme Court action on Thursday against the league over its handling of the drugs investigation. The Essendon coach alleged in documents lodged in court that Demetriou and his deputy chief Gillon McLachlan tipped off the club about investigations into drug use at the club.
However, Demetriou again denied the claim.
"I'll say it very clear. It was impossible to tell Essendon anything when I was not privy to the information, that is clear," Demetriou told ABC 774.
Demetriou, who is currently in Sydney, had not discussed the writ with the AFL's legal counsel, but he was still planning on sitting on the Commission when it heard the case against the Bombers.
"The Commission, which I'm on, is intending on hearing this matter. At this point in time there's no indication why I wouldn't," Demetriou said.
"The Commission hearing is going ahead on Monday. We have left the invitation open for Essendon and or the individuals to attend. We'll see."
"As of this stage the individuals and Essendon have asked for a deferment and that's been granted for more time. If that is to change we'll find out but at this stage the Commission hearing is going ahead."