The premiership players are gathered in the bar of a Richmond hotel celebrating their 25th anniversary.
After comparing old football injuries they talk of the good old days - more about the fun off-field than the hard-fought wins on it.
The key issues from the ACC report
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The key issues from the ACC report
Greg Baum and Scott Spits analyse the key points from the Australian Crime Commission's report into the integrity of Australian sport.
Like stealing the CEO's credit card to drink the top shelf dry in an exclusive bar. Or letting off fireworks inside prestigious London lodgings.
They were all part-time back then and a recovery session involved a chocolate milkshake and an egg and bacon roll after a big night out rather than an injection in the stomach from some Dr Strangelove type scientist employed by your club.
None of these players were paid anything like their modern counterparts and not one of them would change places.
They bemoan that so-called professionalism has taken the fun out of the game and is turning modern footballers into robots.
The Australian Crime Commission report into organised crime links to sport has shaken AFL bosses, who have believed their sporting integrity standards are the best in the country.
(Make no mistake the ACC findings on the uses of illegal substances savages the NRL, a code that despite repeated warnings has an integrity system as ruthless as a lollipop lady eating a cheese sandwich.)
The AFL is one of the few industries in Australia that never seems to fall on hard times.
New clubs, new stadiums, record membership, international recruiting, billion-dollar media deals, more staff and new revenue streams.
Football is such big business that many would say that our own Caroline Wilson is the most important name in the paper (rumoured to have just returned from four months on the Riviera during the off season).
It has all been about getting bigger, better and stronger. And the players association wants more of the pie (although the club dietician would never let a footballer even look at one).
So all clubs are looking for an edge - anything that gives them even half a per cent on the others. Overseas high-altitude camps, refrigerated containers for players to reduce core temperatures and IV drips to re-hydrate have all been tried. If there is a gimmick someone will grab it.
The unproven allegations involving Essendon's use of supplements coupled with the ACC warning that organised crime is supplying professional athletes with performance enhancing products has begun a major AFL rethink.
This is why the ACC went public. To frighten the codes into acting. Many of its findings are general with others unproven. Specific cases have been handed to state and federal law enforcement for further investigation.
It is not just a matter of beefing up testing and bringing in more rules. It is about questioning the whatever-it-takes philosophy.
Each AFL club lauds the players considered to be totally professional. This is usually a code that the poor young man is a trainspotter - incapable of having any interests outside of the oval ball.
There have been several serious warning signs that performance demands are usurping welfare concerns.
Players have been gobbling more caffeine tablets than a Nullarbor truckie, then swallowing prescription sedatives to come down. Why on god's green earth would anyone think it is normal for young men to need heavy medication to sleep?
There is a strong push at the top level to wind back the clock. Under their award players are given eight weeks' leave and day a week during the season. Or are they?
When players have their end-of-season break they are required to return in near peak condition. Many are told the club gyms will remain open, meaning some creep back to get a head start.
Others undergo operations and are required to do hours of rehabilitation, often at the club. One club has made its players wear Dick Tracy-like GPS watches while on holiday to download information about how far they have run during the break.
Senior AFL officials are considering increasing the leave component and shutting the gyms to force players to get away from the pressure cooker. They have been told poor player management leads to mental health issues, self medication and drug abuse. Precisely what they are trying to avoid.
On the performance drug issue look for players whose playing weight alters by more than 5 per cent in 12 months to be target tested, all medical and fitness staff (both employed and contract workers) to submit to extensive background checks and former police to be employed in the integrity unit.
Perhaps it could employ 16 former detectives as independent integrity officers embedded in each club to be rotated every two years so they don't become part of the problem. Total cost around $2 million. The AFL Commission spend more than that on guinea fowl at boardroom lunches.
Now Victoria Police will set up its own sports integrity unit - an initiative than went from the backburner to the microwave when Premier Ted Baillieu asked for a briefing in the wake of the ACC report.
But don't expect police to crack down any time soon. Players taking illicit drugs will be treated as users and largely ignored while performance-enhancing substances remains a grey area.
Some products banned by sport are not illegal. Over the counter cold tablets can contain traces of the stimulant pseudoephedrine while a number of black-banned drugs have legitimate medical uses.
There is another issue in the ACC report that needs addressing. Clubs are desperate to find more money and therefore can be less than selective in grabbing the money.
The report shows how crooks can infiltrate a club or code through sponsorship and, indeed, some overseas soccer clubs have been bought, possibly to facilitate match fixing.
Questionable sponsorship here is nothing new. Back in the 1970s notorious drug dealer Dennis "Fatty" Smith advertised his Manila vice den, the "Aussie Bar" on the side of a then VFL ground.
It is rumoured many of the players would head there for a game of table tennis in the off season. Although none of them carried bats.