Port Adelaide have a strong argument for recruiting mature aged top-up players but that doesn’t mean it will happen, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan says.
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 the Court of Arbitration for Sport their role in the supplements saga.
McLachlan says it will be up to AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon to decide whether Port, as well as St Kilda and Western Bulldogs, can top up their lists.
The clubs were initially told by the AFL they can only replace their suspended players by upgrading rookie-listed footballers.
They have until the end of Tuesday to make written submissions to the AFL, with a decision expected by the end of the week.
“I sympathise with everyone involved in this extraordinary saga. It’s been going for too long,” McLachlan told reporters in Adelaide.
“I think you can make a strong argument from both sides. (Dillon) is closely looking at it.”
Port says it will be two players short of a standard 44-man playing list if its top-up request is knocked back, a situation captain Travis Boak described as unfair.
“I think it’s only fair if we’re at a level playing field in terms of numbers on our list,” Boak said.
McLachlan, who will meet with both Adelaide-based clubs on Tuesday, confirmed Port Adelaide had sought advice from the AFL about the potential risk of recruiting players from Essendon.
But he said the AFL could not have provided definitive answers in any case.
“I’m not sure what we could have added other than what was already known,” he said.