Essendon defender Courtenay Dempsey has described his suspension for not following rehabilitation protocol as an ‘eye opener’.

Dempsey was left out of the Bombers side that lost to Brisbane last weekend after he went out while in recovery.

“I was injured and went out when I shouldn’t have. That’s the standard that we set at this club, is professionalism and obviously I didn’t show it,” Dempsey told The Hangar.

“I got in trouble and I guess it is just an eye opener for everyone else at the club that no matter who you are you still have to set the standards and still have to do the things right.

“Obviously I didn’t do it and I got dropped for it.”

Dempsey understands he is no guarantee to regain his place in the team to take on Richmond on Saturday night but will be doing all he can to be selected.

“I can’t do much about it other than train hard, put my head down and just work hard,” he said.

“It is a big game this week with Dreamtime at the G against Richmond so it is going to be hard to get back in but hopefully I have put my hand up and I guess it is all in the coaches hands now.”

Midfield coach Simon Goodwin said the club’s leadership group decided upon Dempsey’s sanction.

“I think the leaders have been really strong in the culture they want to develop within the footy club,” Goodwin told The Hangar.

“They have been terrific throughout the season so far and this was just a statement to the group that they are not going to put up with people that step outside of the way they want to be perceived and prepare for games.”

“Courtenay felt that on the weekend and I know he is deeply remorseful for it.”

Goodwin is pleased to see the playing group driving such high standards within the group.

“I think it is really important to build a strong culture and think the players are going about it in the right way,” he said.

“They are driving standards at training and trying to get those to a level where they can be successful and they are not going to put up with people who are not going to abide by those.”

“It was a strong stance, a proactive stance they are making and something that the coaching staff are really happy with.”
Dempsey said he was hopeful of regaining his spot in the Dreamtime at the G match, a game that holds added significance for him.

“I am definitely looking forward to it and hopefully get picked,” Dempsey said.

“It is a big cause for the indigenous players in the league and around Austraia so it is good to be part of that game and night.”

“I think this year is even bigger because we are celebrating the shirt lifting of Nicky Winmar so it is a big weekend again for that purpose.”

Goodwin is confident of Dempsey returning to face the Tigers.

“Courtenay does come into contention for this week but it is going to come down to the way he trains and whether the leadership group feel he is ready to come back in.”

“He is an important player to us we know that, we think highly of him as an individual and we think he has really learnt his lesson.”