WARRNAMBOOL Bombers Supporters Group president Norm Gibson expects Essendon to rebound from its supplements saga a better and stronger club.
The AFL commission on Tuesday night banned Essendon from the 2013 finals series, stripped it of draft picks and fined it $2 million for bringing the game into disrepute.
It suspended Essendon coach and favourite son James Hird (pictured) for 12 months.
Gibson, a self-confessed “died in the wool” Bombers fan, said it had been a difficult season for the foundation club, its supporters, players and staff.
“The beauty of it is we can start fresh next year,” he said.
“I’d expect a big crowd on Saturday night (for the game against Richmond).
“We’re taking a bus down and there are 40-odd people on the bus even though it’s a dead-rubber.” Gibson said he would have preferred the club to cop a heavier monetary fine, lose more draft picks and be cleared to play in the 2013 finals series.
“You’ve got to take the umpire’s decision, simple as that,” Gibson said.
“It’s been hard on a lot of people.
‘‘I do agree on fines and draft choices.
“They’re not proven of taking drugs, but bringing the game into disrepute.
“Deep down I know something had to be done to make a case of it.”
Hird could return to coach Essendon at the end of his suspension.
“We’d have him back, no qualms about,” Gibson said.
“He has done a lot for the club.
‘‘It will be interesting to see how they go having a caretaker coach.
“In my opinion it’d be nice to see (Kevin) Sheedy back for 12 months as a caretaker role.
“He’s put his hand up to help in any way.”
Gibson said he would like to see former Bombers sports scientist Steven Dank held accountable for his role in the supplements saga.
As for this season, Gibson is ready for the 2014 pre-season.
“Bring on the cricket,” he said.
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