AFL players banned for anti-doping offences could begin group training this week.
Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says the past and present Essendon players serving one-year suspensions for their role in the club’s 2012 supplements regime are set to get together for their first hit-out as a group.
They include forward Stewart Crameri, who joined the Western Bulldogs after the 2013 season.
Beveridge wants to ensure that the 27-year-old Crameri does not drop off during his mandated year out of the game.
“We were just about to try and mobilise a third party to get something for Stewy which we can’t really impact on,” he said on Tuesday.
“It appears they’re going to have a session, their first, later on in the week.”
Under WADA provisions, the banned players are not allowed contact with their AFL clubs or other organisations linked to the anti-doping code.
Mick Malthouse put his hand up to lead a specialised program for the banned group, but Beveridge said he didn’t believe the West Coast and Collingwood flag-winning coach would be involved.
“He’s always a good man to lead but the players are making that choice as I understand it and I think that’s driven by the Essendon boys,” he said.
“We can’t really influence it but Stewy is really keen to get involved in it and they’ll be able to train together as a group which is great because you need someone to kick the footy with.”
Beveridge said the Bulldogs were anxious that the year-long suspension didn’t turn into a holiday from last September to the end of the year.
“We’ve been cognisant of the fact he’s already had a lay-off,” he said.
“We’ve been quite anxious around the players association getting something ready for the group.
“It’s really the only group that they can train with … Stewy’s keen to maintain his fitness base and get ready for the possibility that he might re-join us.”
The AFL Players Association has been contacted for comment.