David Zaharakis is understood to have avoided a notice because he did not participate in the injection regime. Photo: Getty Images
David Zaharakis is among the minority of 2012 Essendon players who have not been issued with show-cause notices for potential use of Thymosin beta 4.
While 34 players from Essendon's 2012 senior list have been given show-cause notices by ASADA, three of them - Stewart Crameri, Angus Monfries and Scott Gumbleton - have since been recruited by other clubs, while others, such as Nathan Lovett-Murray, have left AFL football.
Zaharakis is understood to have avoided a notice because he did not participate in the injection regime.
The high number of players to have received notices - the total of 34, first reported by Fairfax Media on Thursday, is larger than widely anticipated - consists of players who signed consent forms (with ''thymosin'' on the form) and acknowledged in evidence they had received an injection of some substance.
Captain and 2012 Brownlow medallist Jobe Watson is among the players to have received notices. A dozen of the club's 2012 list did not receive show-cause notices some of those players have since left the club.
Kyle Reimers, the former player who first spoke publicly about the injection regime, would not comment when contacted by Fairfax Media, which understands he has not received a show-cause notice. He is playing local football in the Essendon district league.
Players can be charged for ''attempting'' to use Thymosin beta 4 - not simply for using it - under the anti-doping code, a rule that gives ASADA more avenues to issue infraction notices if it has sufficient evidence.
Meanwhile, the legal team acting for the Essendon players is considering a range of options for responding to ASADA's show-cause notices.
The players, through their lawyers, can challenge the notices, presenting a case that outlines why they are not warranted. Or they can launch their own legal action, separate from Essendon, which lodged a Federal Court action against ASADA on Friday.
The matter will come before that court in Melbourne on June 27, with exiled coach James Hird also launching an action against ASADA on Friday.
Essendon's legal challenge will argue that ASADA's joint investigation with the AFL was unlawful, and it will seek to expedite the case to ensure it is dealt with within a few months so it doesn't drag on.
Essendon is seeking a permanent order that would see the investigation cease.
Its challenge is being led by Maurice Blackburn's Josh Bornstein, the deputy chair of Racing Victoria's appeals board, with barrister and constitutional law specialist Peter Hanks, QC, and barrister Nick Harrington, a friend of Hird's, assisting.
The AFL did not make any criticism or endorsement of Essendon's legal challenge and sources said the league wasn't buying in to it at this stage. The AFL did not meet with ASADA on Friday, though a meeting is anticipated soon.
One potential avenue for the players that was being discussed was to seek a six-week delay to the 10-day show-cause deadline.
There are 16 players on the Essendon list who were not at the club in 2012, while 29 players remain from the relevant season.
The AFL said in a statement on Friday night: ''The AFL respects the right of all individual players and the Essendon Football Club to explore their legal options.''
Can players who have been issued with show cause notices continue to play?
Yes. A show cause notice is just the first step - an allegation rather than a finding of guilt. But if players are issued with infraction notices they will be ineligible to play.
What is a show-cause notice?
A show-cause notice is an allegation that an individual athlete may have breached Australia’s anti-doping laws. It is not an indictment of guilt. It is the first step of a process, similar to a court trial, where evidence gathered by ASADA will be reviewed by an independent panel. Players have 10 day to respond to the notice.
What happens next?
The players have a minimum of 10 days to respond to the show-cause notices, but that deadline can be extended. ASADA’s move prompt Essendon to legally challenge the unprecedented joint AFL-ASADA investigation into the Bombers’ supplements program.
How can infraction notices be issued?
After the players have responded, an independent panel will determine whether a violation has occurred. ASADA then makes a recommendation to the sport - in this case the AFL - which then issues infraction notices. If guilt is established, the AFL tribunal is responsible for handing out penalties.
What are the possible penalties?
Any player found guilty of taking a banned substance, whether inadvertently or deliberately, faces a two year ban from the sport. However, if players were not aware of what they were taking, this could be reduced to one year. If they make full admissions, the penalties could be further reduced to six months.
What is thymosin Beta 4?
The peptide at the centre of the Essendon scandal, and the only substance referred to in the show cause notices. It has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2011. There are two types of thymosin - the banned version (beta 4) and one that is legal, Thymomodulin.
* Some of the original calculations in this story have been amended.