How to survive a doping ban is something only a few AFL players – including Essendon recruit Ryan Crowley – fully understand.
It’s why the former Docker thinks he has something to offer the 17 current AFL players banned due to the Essendon’s supplements program.
Crowley, the first of 10 top-up players the Bombers can sign for the looming AFL season, sat out most of the 2015 season after taking a prohibited substance.
“In time, I’d like to sit down and have a chat with them because it is a unique situation,” Crowley told reporters on Wednesday.
“I am someone who could give them an insight as to what it’s like.”
He said the 17 players, including 12 current Bombers, needed to lean on each other and work together.
“For me, it was quite a lonely place because it was only me going through it,” he said.
“I’m not going to hide it – there were times when it was really, really tough.”
But the tagger, who played 77 consecutive games for Fremantle before his ban, said it had offered him the time to properly recover from various, small ailments accrued over the years.
“It was getting really tough but having that year off made my body feel great,” he said.
“So they can take some positives out of it too.”
Crowley trained with the team on Wednesday for the first time since signing to the Bombers.
Essendon can sign top-up players up until March 15 – less than two weeks before their round-one opening match against GWS.