Jobe Watson (extreme left) with other Essendon players at Monday’s family day. Photo: Angela WylieIf the fallout from the anti-doping investigation into Cronulla is starting to worry Essendon, midfielder Brent Stanton did his best to convince otherwise, suggesting there were reasons to hope the Bombers were not headed down the same path as the under-siege NRL club.
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Facing the media at Essendon’s family day at Windy Hill on Monday, Stanton was asked whether the players thought there was reason to be ”cautiously optimistic” that their case would have a different outcome to that at Cronulla.

”Possibly – it’s a whole different investigation,” Stanton said.

”We opened up our doors to be investigated. We’re doing everything possible to try to get that process under way and we’re fully co-operating,” he said.

”I think the AFL and ASADA are doing their job – so are we.

”The board, and [chairman] David Evans and [coach] James Hird and [chief executive] Ian Robson have been really confident and really good in the way they have handled the whole thing.”

Stanton stressed he did not know any details of the Cronulla case, which has exploded in the past week with reports that a number of Sharks players have been urged to accept six-month bans or else risk a longer suspension as they deal with the investigation into their club by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

It’s been reported some Sharks players were allegedly injected with a substance used on horses and greyhounds to increase muscle growth, strength and endurance, and the club has already sacked several key officials.

The Bombers are also being investigated by ASADA over their supplement use last year, when they employed sports scientist Stephen Dank, who was previously with Cronulla.

Essendon’s decision to volunteer information to the AFL prompted the ASADA investigation, and the board has signed off on a full external and independent review of governance and processes at the club.

Stanton refused to say whether he had been interviewed by ASADA, although he did say the players had been kept up to speed as much as possible with the investigation by key Bombers officials and Hird.

However the message Stanton was trying to push was clear – as far as he and his teammates were concerned, the only point of focus was Adelaide in round one.

”As much as you guys want to talk about that, our major focus is about next week,” he said.

Stanton, the club’s 2011 best-and-fairest runner-up, said some young players had been given support from the coaches and other staff in dealing with the investigation.

A crowd of 8300 attended the family day on Monday, and Stanton said the players had been humbled by the faith the club’s members had shown.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.