AFL

Essendon saga: Peter Jess hopes player claims will be resolved outside court

Player manager Peter Jess is hopeful that the compensation claims of banned Essendon players can be resolved without having to go to court.

It was revealed by Fairfax Media on Wednesday that a group of up to 15 members of the banned Essendon 34 were considering breaking away from the AFL Players' Association, and fighting their personal compensation claims against the Bombers through independent lawyers.

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Jess, who manages retired defender Nathan Lovett-Murray, one of the Essendon 34 who copped a lengthy suspension relating to the club's controversial 2012 supplement program, wanted to avoid yet another drawn-out legal process.

"The best outcome is that we don't go to court, that we sit down and have a process where people put their cases and we have a facility that people can work through," Jess told SEN on Thursday.

Bradley Clark has produced a risk assessment of symptoms for players given drugs which form part of the thymosin group.
Bradley Clark has produced a risk assessment of symptoms for players given drugs which form part of the thymosin group. Photo: Pat Scala

"My view is the best outcome is to get a negotiated agreement ... because I would much rather have this all wrapped up in the shortest possible time so that people can focus on the footy rather than lawyers."

Jess also favoured the method of each aggrieved player having their claims heard individually, rather than as part of a group or class action, which has led to players hiring their own lawyers.

"I've been liaising with the AFLPA for quite some time and I put the proposition to them that we need to make sure we've got access to people who are at the top of the game in this field [of personal claims]," Jess said.

"From our point of view we think that we have got to have that level of skill which will help the players.

"I think on balance we [the AFLPA] don't have a group that's got a suite of skills that we know is some of the best in the game, then it does no harm to seek those skills out."

Jess said that the players' legal action would be underpinned by the fact that the Essendon Football Club was found guilty of breaching workplace safety laws.