While Essendon are doing everything in their power to help affected players through the emotional strain, coach John Worsfold reiterated the sense of powerlessness for the 12 current Bombers whose fates will soon be revealed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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Coach John Worsfold says the club is doing all it could to assist the players as they await the Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict.
The drugs saga that has held the club captive for nearly three years could reach a conclusion of sorts next week, when CAS announces whether the World Anti-doping Agency has been successful in appealing last March's AFL anti-doping tribunal decision, which found insufficient evidence that 34 players from the Bombers' 2012 list took banned substance thymosin beta-4 as part of the club's supplements regime that season.
Speaking at the club's open training session on Friday, Worsfold said that while resources had been allocated towards making things easier for the dozen Dons who remain in limbo, he stressed that there was only so much the club could do, and he didn't know what the outcome would be.
"It's becoming imminent," Worsfold said at Tullamarine.
"All that's totally out of our control, and certainly out of my control. Everything for me is business as usual. And then the club has contingencies in plan around any decision that's handed down. We're pretty much just tracking along focusing on preparing for the season."
Questioned about how the Bombers were handling the emotional strain that would doubtless accompany the approaching decision, Worsfold again veered down the "control" path.
"The club's got people in place, and we've got people around the club that have constantly ... talked to them, and will be on hand next week as well.
"What we've talked a lot about is they have no control over it at all, so let's focus on what we can control, and be positive about that.
"But that doesn't take away any anxiety they may feel."
The 2006 West Coast premiership coach otherwise kept his cards close to his chest on Friday, unable, or perhaps unwilling, to detail the specifics of Dyson Heppell's mystery lower body ailment.
In any case, Heppell trained with his Essendon teammates at Tullamarine, and while Worsfold did not reveal what had restricted the recently appointed vice-captain, he was adamant it would not affect Heppell's campaign.
Worsfold said it was merely the recurrence of an issue that had caused the 2014 All-Australian problems in the back half of the Dons' disastrous 2015 season.
"It didn't really settle through the games against the Irish. So we just decided to help it settle. So without specifically going into what the injury is, we're pretty confident that it's not going to be a drama.
"He had the awareness for most of the second half of last year anyway.
"We rested him for a little bit pre-Christmas and then he back and did a couple of runs, and there was some slight awareness still. [We] decided that rather than training him right up until Christmas and then resting him for two weeks, we'd give him and three or four-week rest."
Worsfold defended the club's decision to allow Heppell to play November's International rules Test in Ireland.
"I think you take every situation on its merits. And with Dyson playing in that, the club had obviously assessed him and he felt good enough to be part of it."
He added that Michael Hurley and Jobe Watson were close to rejoining full contact training after their shoulder operations.
Worsfold, meanwhile, shied away from the recent comments by Dons veteran Adam Cooney, who likened new recruit Darcy Parish to young Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli.