Gerald Healy, the 1988 Brownlow Medal winner, has expressed disgust over the way the AFL has handled requests by football clubs affected by the suspension of the Dons 34.

Ex-Dons players that went to other clubs after the 2012 season, and were then suspended for their roles in the doping scandal, have affected the roster decisions of St. Kilda, Melbourne, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs.

Healy felt that AFL legal counsel Andrew Dillon was hedging when he consulted the 13 teams unaffected by the suspensions for their opinion regarding whether or not the affected teams should receive top-ups. Healy thinks the decision should be made at the executive level and not through an ad hoc committee composed of the other clubs.

The other clubs naturally responded in tepid fashion to Dillon’s inquiry, since the other clubs perceive that by favouring the top-up, a competitive advantage would go to the teams topping-up.

The irony of the situation lies in the fact that the four teams caught up in the mess are not permitted to go outside the AFL system to replace banned players, but Essendon has been permitted to do so. Those four clubs instead must rely on promoting rookies to replace banned players.