AFL boss keen to help Dons rebuild

Essendon doctor Bruce Reid shook hands with Andrew Demetriou on Monday as the AFL chief was given a tour of the Bombers’ new Tullamarine training and administrative headquarters.

Demetriou was joined by his deputy Gillon McLachlan, Essendon chairman Paul Little and Bombers’ chief operating officer Xavier Campbell in inspecting the state-of-the-art facilities.

The tour was part of a process of rebuilding the relationship between league headquarters and the club which split during the supplements saga last season. Reid had been one of four staff members from Essendon charged over the club’s supplements program but the AFL later dropped all charges.

Little said the tour was an important step.

”We really feel this is an important part of us turning the corner,” he said. ”We have to have a strong relationship with the AFL. 2013 was an average year for the relationship. We are about trying to rebuild with them and rebuild in many ways.”

Under Little, and with coach James Hird suspended for a year, the Bombers have revamped their football department and moved to tighten governance issues. They will soon appoint an integrity officer.

”There is no doubt last year [the relationship] was tested,” Demetriou said on the club’s website.

”The AFL and the Essendon Football Club want to move forward and to work together. Our view is … we want Essendon to succeed. We will do everything we can do to help the [club].

”The club has already put practices in place around the integrity unit, which has taken up a lot of the recommendations around the protocols required to safeguard the club going into the future. There has been a change of personnel. I think the club is genuinely wanting to move forward, as are we.”

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