THERE is no doubt the Essendon saga has been a league-wide distraction.
When the AFL announced its initial charges against the Bombers earlier this week based on the ASADA interim report you could hardly help but be intrigued as a player.
There was intrigue, too, when the whole supplements program was first unveiled.
That intrigue has been worn down and worn down as it constantly plays out.
As an AFL player working in the media, you certainly get over it and start to tune out to it.
It is important not to become too involved in the debate or too wrapped up in what is happening, particularly as a player in a club that is going to play finals.
We have got to focus on our priorities. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.
When the story broke, sure, there was a bit of locker-room talk but it has reached the point that there is a new scandal everyday.
This season has been dominated by off-field drama.
Playing out alongside the latest Essendon developments this week was the sacking of Brisbane Lions’ coach Michael Voss.
These sorts of stories can really wear clubs down.
The only time Hawthorn has been through anything like this in the modern era was about 10 years ago when Alastair Clarkson first came to coach our club, replacing Peter Schwab mid-season.
A key aspect of success is club stability.
Stability has contributed to the success of Sydney, Geelong, Hawthorn and even Collingwood.
While clubs all have speed humps along the way, there is stability in club operations and among players.
Once finals really kick into gear, all that off-field stuff should take a backseat.
The Essendon saga has proven to be one of the strongest, genuine news stories in years but once finals start, fan and media attention should naturally turn to the premiership chase.
We continue to focus on fine-tuning our game.
Our form has not been that great the past few weeks.
To play against Collingwood last night was another good chance to really sharpen up.
We’ve got North Melbourne then Sydney left.
We do not pay attention to how the ladder might end up – who we might play, where we might finish, who might sneak in.
Until the top-eight is decided, anything could happen. We need to be ready.
Meanwhile, it is great to see my premiership teammate Mark Williams signing on to coach Ballan for the next two years.
Obviously he has enjoyed his time in the Central Highlands Football League this season and has relished stepping up with more responsibility as an interim coach.
I don’t know whether coaching was his interest during his time at Hawthorn.
It is great to see him involved in the game at a grassroots level and mentoring players.
Hawthorn midfielder and premiership player Brad Sewell was drafted to the Hawks in 2001. He played his junior football with Newlyn.