Dermie feels for Hird and players
Hawk great Dermott Brereton not surprised by supplements scandal
THERE is no love lost between Dermott Brereton and Essendon, but even the five-time premiership winner feels for Bombers coach James Hird and his charges embroiled in an anti-doping investigation.
Brereton famously ran through Essendon's huddle at three-quarter-time after giving away a free-kick for kissing adversary Billy Duckworth in 1988, and helped instigate 2004's fiery line-in-the-sand match which resulted in 27 charges being heard at the tribunal.
Brereton said on Wednesday the scrutiny Essendon was facing over endorsing the use of potentially illegal supplements had put a twinkle in his eye and that "as an old Hawthorn man, I'm a little but chuffed".
But taking a more serious tone, the 48-year-old was sympathetic towards Hird, noting it was possible he didn't know the full extent of the supplement practice.
"I do (feel for him). James is a lovely bloke and captain cleanskin. He would hate this going on," Brereton said in Sydney, where he was working with Greater Western Sydney's tall forwards at a training session.
"If you're a coach, you've got your area and you delegate and say 'Right, that's your department ... I want you to make them play as well as they can'.
"It's completely feasible that he didn't know."
Brereton also said he felt for the players.
"We're all beasts of our own environment. The environment is a football club and you do what the rest of the team does. So you toe the line and trust those people are making the right choices," he said.
Brereton was not surprised such an issue had arisen given the competitiveness of the league and the sway of sports science.
"Ten years ago the Brisbane Lions, when they were top, had the intravenous drip permanently in the arm, taped over," he said.
"That was cutting edge, and that was banned for the look it gave the game, but was it contravening any laws at the time? Probably specifically not.
"Everyone's looking for that edge. You're pouring $10 million into your football department.
"If you're within the legal limits and they're checking you out for the legality of it, you're doing your job the best you can because you're pressing the boundaries.
"They've probably realised an error there and gone through it in more finer detail.
"We let it all take due course now."