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AFL sets rules for Essendon's hunt for top-up players

Travis King  January 15, 2016 12:40 PM

• Eight burning questions about the bans
• What the Dons' round one team could look like
• Timeline: Three years of turmoil for Essendon
• Where are the Essendon 34 now?

THE AFL has revealed its rules for Essendon's hunt for top-up players and set a two-month deadline for the Bombers to replenish their list.

The Dons can recruit up to 10 top-ups on short-term contracts to replace their 12 suspended players and must finish their recruiting by March 15.

Essendon will only be allowed to recruit players who were on an AFL club's list within the past two years or from within the Bombers' own VFL team, unless otherwise approved by AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon.

Don't blame me for supplements drama: Hird

Other list concessions include:

- Essendon won't retain list access rights beyond October 31 to any top-up players who are recruited onto its primary list for the 2016 season.

- Payments made to the temporary players will be included in the Bombers' salary cap, but an allowance will cover any amount Essendon goes over the limit.

- Essendon can't sign more than one player from the same club – except from its VFL squad – unless otherwise approved by the AFL's general counsel.

The Bombers can also upgrade any of their five rookies during the upcoming season, as if one of their 12 suspended players was put on the long-term injury list.

But Essendon will only be allowed to have a maximum of 40 players available for senior selection at any time.

The four other clubs affected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspending 34 past and present Bombers players on Tuesday will also be able to upgrade a rookie to replace banned players as if placing them on the long-term injury list.

Port Adelaide has two players banned – Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries – while St Kilda (Jake Carlisle), Melbourne (Jake Melksham) and the Western Bulldogs (Stewart Crameri) have also lost a senior player for 2016.