Port expect top-up player answer soon

Port Adelaide expect an answer next week from the AFL about its appeal to be allowed to recruit top-up players like Essendon.

Two former Essendon players now at Port, Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries, are among 34 current and former Bombers players banned for this season by Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The bans relate to Essendon’s supplements program in 2012, when the 34, including Ryder and Monfries, were at the Melbourne-based club.

Port have lodged a submission with the AFL requesting they be allowed to replace their banned duo with mature aged top-up players, as Essendon can.

“That is under consideration at the moment,” Port president David Koch told reporters on Friday.

“They (the AFL) have assured us that we will get an announcement next week.

“They’re discussing it internally and also discussing it with a few of the other clubs as well.”

St Kilda, Melbourne and Western Bulldogs have made similar submissions to Port as they have also lost former Essendon players to the ban.

The clubs have been told by the AFL they can only replace the suspended players by upgrading rookie-listed footballers, but Essendon has been allowed to recruit former AFL-listed players as replacements.

“All of the clubs affected are aligned on this so, so very heartened by that,” Koch said.

“The ideal response is that we are not two players short of every other club going into the 2016 season.

“As the numbers turn out we are one player short of Essendon. We will have 42 players, Essendon will have 43, everyone else will have 44 including your rookies – we think that is unfair.”

Asked if Port would take legal action against Essendon over the bans, Koch replied: “That is a decision for the board and we will obviously analyse all options.”

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