Paul Chapman's emotional clash with Geelong has been overshadowed with Federal Court action taken by Essendon and James Hird against ASADA. Photo: Pat Scala
Essendon coach Mark Thompson has warned his players against becoming distracted by what takes place in the Federal Court.
The ninth-placed Bombers take on fifth-placed Geelong at Etihad Stadium on Friday night as ex-Cats' forward Paul Chapman faces up to his old side for the first time.
Triple-premiership Cat Chapman's emotional clash with Geelong has been overshadowed with Federal Court action taken by Essendon and its banned coach James Hird against ASADA.
The Bombers and Hird argue last year's joint ASADA and AFL investigation into the club's 2012 supplements program was unlawful and the show-cause notices against 34 past and present players should not proceed.
The first step in the court action will be Friday's directions hearing, which will be televised.
"I haven't talked about it this week, so I probably won't talk about it tomorrow," Thompson told reporters.
"If they want to watch it they'll watch it.
"If they don't they won't.
"We'd be pretty disappointed if they spent most of tomorrow thinking about what's going on in court, when we've got a game on.
"They're bigger and better than that. They've been able to show that they've been able to concentrate on the footy and I'd expect the same.
"If you get distracted, you spend less time thinking about your job."
Thompson, who coached Geelong to premierships in 2007 and 2009, gave a wry grin when asked how he thought the Cats might respond to media speculation that a fourth premiership in eight years is beyond them.
"They're still a good team," Thompson said.
"They're a proud mob.
"I'd love to say yes, I have five or six areas (where Geelong can be exposed) but I haven't."
Thompson says he has counselled Chapman, 32, on how to handle his emotions in Friday's game.
"I think deep down, he's openly admitted that he would have preferred to stay and play on at Geelong," Thompson said.
"But he's also mature enough to realise it didn't happen and he's enjoying his time here.
"(I've) been texting him, just telling him to keep it all in check mate, just let it happen.
Thompson said Chapman would probably be a target.
Geelong coach Chris Scott says the Cats are eagerly awaiting the "theatre" of their clash with Chapman.
"He'll embrace it and we'll embrace it as well," Scott said.
Thompson did his best to take his players' minds off their legal dramas by supervising training in his underwear after losing a bet regarding a tactical set play.