Essendon drugs saga: Bombers approached Adam Goodes for top-up list

Sydney's retired great Adam Goodes spurned an approach by Essendon, who were interested in recruiting the former champion as a top-up player.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the Bombers approached Goodes' management about him joining the club, as it gradually signs the short-term top-up players to replace the dozen suspended for doping offences.

Adam Goodes makes a lot of people uncomfortable by being a proud black man.
Adam Goodes makes a lot of people uncomfortable by being a proud black man. Photo: Getty Images

Goodes, who announced his retirement immediately after Sydney's 2015 finals loss to North Melbourne, wasn't interested in coming out of retirement and was quick to rule out joining Essendon.

In sounding out Goodes, the Dons were casting the net wide in order to land the best possible short-term recruits. They have already signed seven of the 10 they are allowed to recruit, and have placed a premium on experience by signing four players aged 30 or over, plus a 28-year-old.

Sources said Goodes was not interested in playing on, and if he had been keen, he would have sought to do so only with the Swans.

Unlike some veterans, including the Geelong pair who have landed at Essendon, James Kelly and Mathew Stokes, Goodes, 35, made his own decision to call it quits in 2015 and was not pushed. Sydney did not have to make a call on his future.


Goodes is happily retired and working on the next phase of his life, which includes working with his Go Foundation and another Indigenous charity Supply Nation. He's also an ambassador for David Jones, Toyota and Lend Lease and is looking at other projects.

He has no official involvement in football this year. 

Goodes endured a difficult final year as an AFL player, in which he was repeatedly booed by opposition fans, in an episode that embarrassed the AFL and saw the two-time Brownlow medallist withdraw from playing a game late in the home-and-away season.

The booing of Goodes, who had been named Australian of the Year in early 2014, sparked a heated national debate about whether the hostility and invective directed at the champion had a racial motivation – a view the Swans held, pointing to the strong stance Goodes had taken on Indigenous matters and the reaction to him being named Australian of the Year.

Essendon has recruited Kelly, Stokes, ex-Docker Ryan Crowley, Mark Jamar and 28-year-old ex-Hawk premiership player Jonathan Simpkin, plus former Lion James Polkinghorne and ex-Tiger Matt Dea.

Essendon, having signed ruckman Jamar, have not yet secured a tall back to cover for suspended guns Michael Hurley and Cale Hooker and Tayte Pears. The club does have James Gwilt and Michael Hartley and can deploy others in defence, if required.

The Dons are negotiating payments with the 12 suspended players, who are expected to receive a large portion of their 2016 contracts. They have indicated that they will offer contracts to those of the 12 who are not signed for 2017.