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Cloud finally lifts for Watson and teammates

Ben Guthrie  March 31, 2015 6:53 PM

BTV: AFL Tribunal Decision - Jobe Watson media conference In front of a number of his team mates, Essendon Captain Jobe Watson makes a statement and answers the questions of the media following the announcement of the AFL Tribunal's decision.

Essendon captain Jobe Watson says he can't wait to run out against the Sydney Swans on Saturday night without the 2012 supplements saga hanging over his head.

On Tuesday the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal cleared 34 past and present Bombers players of any wrongdoing in relation to the supplements program.

A visibly emotional Watson, who was flanked by former and present Essendon teammates, said the emotional toll had finally been lifted after a tumultuous and exhausting 26 months.

"I don't know what it's going to feel like (running out against the Swans)," an emotional Watson said on Tuesday afternoon.

"I have not had that feeling since the sixth of February of 2013.

"I've almost forgotten what it's like to be an AFL player without having this hanging over our heads."

The players gathered at an Albert Park hotel on Tuesday afternoon where they received the news via video link.

 

"I think at the initial stage, none of us were too familiar with the legal terminology," Watson said.

"The handing down (of the verdict) came as 'not comfortably satisfied' so we were all a little bit unsure about what that actually meant, and then it took a couple of moments for us to realise that means 'not guilty'.

"We all broke into hugs and cheering and it was a really special moment just to be there with the other guys."

Watson, who joined his fellow players in wearing non-club attire, gave an insight into the emotional strain they have dealt with throughout the whole ordeal.

"We have gone through something that we'll hold with each other for the rest of our lives," Watson said.

"The way in which the players have shown integrity, I couldn't be more proud of the way that we have conducted ourselves as a playing group, given the situation that we've been in. 

"I think the bond this group have, means for the rest of their lives that we'll be able to draw on this experience."

The players who joined Watson at the media conference were Leroy Jetta, Jake Carlisle, Cory Dell'Olio, Ariel Steinberg, Alwyn Davey, Tayte Pears, Michael Hurley, Alex Browne, Travis Colyer, Michael Hibberd, Jake Melksham, Dyson Heppell, Cale Hooker, Luke Davis, Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett, Dustin Fletcher, Brent Stanton, Tom Bellchambers and David Myers.

The Bombers skipper reiterated the players' stance that they had done nothing wrong. 

"We fully cooperated from the start," Watson said.

 

"Everything that anyone knew they gave over in their interview and that interview was part of the evidence that the tribunal judged on. 

"We were totally open books about the whole process. All we wanted to know was the truth and we were honest with everything we knew.

"We hid nothing from anyone."