"As we enter one of the most important periods in the history of the Essendon Football Club, both on and off the field we are confident the foundations have been laid for strong future growth and sustained success. The challenge, as it is every year, is to stay ahead of the curve. The Board, administration, players and coaches are doing whatever it takes to gain the edge that will put us ahead of the opposition." – Ian Robson, Essendon CEO, 2012 annual report
With the result of the WADA case against the Essendon Football Club due most likely on Tuesday morning, The Sunday Age looks back at how the supplements scandal played out on–field.
THE SEASONS SINCE
2012: After nine games Essendon had an 8–1 record. After a horror run with soft–tissue injuries the club lost 10 of the last 13 games and finished 11th. There was some consolation when Jobe Watson won the Brownlow Medal.
2013: After the bombshell self–report to ASADA in February the club ends the season with 14 wins and eight losses, but AFL–imposed sanctions meant it was relegated from seventh position to ninth – with arch rival Carlton claiming Essendon's spot in the finals.
2014: Some stirring wins under duress saw Essendon end the season with a 12–9 record, finishing seventh but being bundled out in week one after a 12–point loss to North Melbourne.
2015: A shocking season in which the Bombers can only manage six wins to finish 15th. James Hird vacates his senior coaching role with games to go.
Chairman: David Evans – Resigned from the club because of health issues midway through the 2013 season.
CEO: Ian Robson – Resigned in May 2013. Currently chief executive of Melbourne Victory.
1. Senior coach: James Hird – "Resigned" as coach with three games remaining in 2015 season.
2. Senior assistant coach: Mark Thompson – Appeared set to coach the team in 2015, but club recommitted to Hird in the days after the 2014 Crichton Medal count. Has had some media roles, but for the most part has left football.
3. Assistant coach/midfield: Simon Goodwin – Senior coach–in–waiting behind Paul Roos at Melbourne
4. Forward coach: Matthew Egan – Was interim coach for three matches after Hird's departure in 2015. Remains at Essendon as VFL coach and head of player development.
5. Defensive coach: Sean Wellman – Left the club at the end of 2013 to pursue interests outside of football.
6. High performance manager: Dean Robinson – Took legal action against the club which was settled. Studied for an MBA and is currently working with an accounting firm.
Development coach: James Byrne – Left to pursue interests outside of football at the end of 2014.
Development coach Rick Ladson – Left to pursue interests outside of football at end of 2012.
VFL coach, Bendigo Bombers: Hayden Skipworth – Remains with club as an assistant coach.
Sports scientist/biochemist Stephen Dank – Life ban from AFL. Is appealing that sanction.
7. Sam Lonergan – delisted by Bombers at the end of 2012 and retired after playing two games for Richmond in 2013.
8. Jake Melksham – Traded at the end of 2015 to Melbourne.
9. Dyson Heppell – The future of the club. The new vice–captain has 106 games and should play many more.
10. Anthony Long – Delisted at the end of 2012 after failing to get a game.
11. Ariel Steinberg – Delisted at the end of 2015 after 10 games.
12. David Myers – Remains on the Essendon list with 85 games.
13. Tayte Pears – Remains at the club with 70 games.
14. Nathan Lovett–Murray – Delisted at the end of the 2013 season.
15 Stewart Crameri – Traded to the Western Bulldogs at the end of 2013, where he became leading goalkicker in 2014 and helped the club rise up the ladder in 2015.
16. Michael Hibberd – Remains at the club with 84 games.
17. Brent Prismall – Recruited from Geelong, he played no games in 2012 and was delisted at season's end.
18. Jason Winderlich – was expected to leave the club in 2014, but played on after Hird was reconfirmed as coach. Managed only one more game to end with 129 for the club.
19. Michael Ross – Delisted at the end of 2012 after two games.
20. Ben Howlett – Remains at the club with 117 games.
21. Kyle Hardingham – Delisted at the end of 2014 after 49 games.
22. Jake Carlisle – Traded to St Kilda at the end of 2015, promptly disgracing himself in a recreational drug scandal.
23. Scott Gumbleton – traded to Fremantle at the end of 2013 season, where he failed to pay a senior game and retired at the end of 2014.
24. Cale Hooker – Won the best and fairest in 2015. Now has 133 games.
25. David Hille – retired at the end of the 2013 season after 196 games.
26. Tom Bellchambers – Remains at the club with 79 games.
27. Dustin Fletcher – The revered veteran finally retired at the end of the 2015 after reaching 400 games.
28. Paddy Ryder – The most high–profile playing loss to the club. Sought a trade to Port Adelaide at the end of 2014 where he has at times played an important role.
29. Luke Davis – Delisted at the end of 2013 having not played a game. Currently playing at Aberfeldie.
30. Alex Browne – Delisted at the end of 2015 after 11 games.
31. Kyle Reimers – Delisted at the end of 2012 after 60 games. Has since played with Perth and Aberfeldie.
32. Alwyn Davey – Delisted at the end of 2013 after 100 games.
33. Leroy Jetta – Retired at the end of the 2014 season after 83 games for the club.
34. Ricky Dyson – Retired at the end of the 2012 season.
35. Angus Monfries – Sought a trade to Port Adelaide for a four–year deal at the end of the 2012 season.
36. David Zaharakis – Outed himself as scared of needles and thus absolved of taking supplements at club. Won the 2013 Anzac Day medal and remains on the club list with 126 games.
37. Brent Stanton – Remains at the club and sits two games away from the 250 milestone.
38. Jobe Watson – Reconfirmed as club captain for 2016 having expressed his exhaustion at the toll the supplement saga has taken in the past three years.
39. Mark McVeigh – Injuries ended the veteran's career on 232 games at the end of the 2012 season. He is currently an assistant coach at GWS Giants.
40. Heath Hocking – Remains at the club with 124 games.
41. Michael Hurley – Has grown in stature in the Bomber backline and is now a key player at Essendon with 119 games.
42. Courtenay Dempsey – Remains at the club with 119 games.
43. Henry Slattery – Left Essendon at the end of 2012, but was not drafted in 2013.
44. Elliott Kavanagh – Delisted at the end of 2015 after 12 games.
45. Mark Baguley – Has become a club leader. Remains at the club with 72 games.
46. Cory Dell'Olio – Delisted at the end of 2014 after 16 games.
47. Brendan Lee – Delisted at the end of 2012 after two games.
48. Hal Hunter – Delisted at the end of 2013 without playing a game. Currently taking legal action against the club.
49 Jackson Merrett – Remains at the club with 43 games.
50. Lauchlan Dalgleish – Delisted at the end of 2015 after three games.
51. Nick O'Brien – Delisted at the end of 2015 after 14 games.
52. Travis Colyer – A much improved player. Remains at the club with 57 games.