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Essendon would have been premiership favourites.

ESSENDON chiefs have blasted the AFL for closing a loophole that would have allowed it to recruit an arsenal of champion former footballers and “put an extra 50,000 bums on seats”.

Bombers chief executive Xavier Campbell said the club’s plans to sign the likes of Wayne Carey, Warwick Capper and Ricky Nixon, as revealed by The Caught Report, had been blocked by the AFL, which was concerned the move would harm the competition’s modern blandness.

Campbell said accounting had estimated recruiting old stars would have doubled memberships and average match attendance figures, boosting the club’s ravaged coffers by up to $10 million.

He accused the AFL of a long-running vendetta against the club.

“The club has done nothing wrong, the players have done nothing wrong and coaching staff have done nothing wrong, but the AFL is intent on wiping our bank balance and playing list at every chance it can get,” he said.

The Caught Report has exclusively received what would have been the club’s best 22 this year before the AFL stepped in:

B: M. Gayfer, S. Silvagni, B. Hardie

HB: G. Wanganeen, G. Jakovich, G. Ayres

C: D. Kickett, D. Hawkins, R. Nixon

HF: D. Brereton, W. Carey, D. Neitz

F: W. Capper, T. Lockett, M. “Jacko” Jackson 

R: L. Vidovic, M.McGuane, R. Dipierdomenico 

Bench:  J.Newman, L. Richards, R. Barrassi, B. Goddard


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