The AFL's lawyers are on a hat-trick. When Essendon walk into the AFL Commission meeting on August 26, they'll be facing an opponent with an imposing record.
Melbourne firm Minter Ellison is accustomed to big AFL hearings. They represented the league during the Adelaide/Kurt Tippett salary cap scandal and in the Melbourne tanking investigation, so they're two from two.
But the Bombers supplements case has a unique twist because of the relationships of many of the key people.
The AFL's general counsel Andrew Dillon wouldn't have enjoyed laying charges against coach James Hird, assistant coach Mark Thompson, football operations manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid.
Dillon was an outstanding amateur footballer for Victorian Amateur Football Association powerhouse Old Xaverians and Corcoran coached him in 1990.
Dillon's multiple premiership winning teammate Simon Lethlean is also on the AFL's legal team. They were coached by Barry Richardson who later became Thompson's chairman of selectors at Geelong.
Essendon is being represented by another Old Xaverian - Jack Rush, a St Kilda director who is the former chairman of the AFL Grievance Tribunal and known for his part in the Black Saturday royal commission.
Hird, Thompson, Corcoran and Reid will have their own lawyers.
Julian Burnside is defending Hird. He has represented Alan Bond and Rose Porteous, and famously acted for the Maritime Union of Australia during the 1998 waterfront dispute.
Thompson has appointed sports lawyer Paul Horvath - a man with experience working for AFL clubs, Olympians and the Australian Sports Commission. The AFL Commission must then determine guilt and any potential penalty. It is led by former Subiaco and Carlton star Mike Fitzpatrick. The commission has two other former players - AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and Hawthorn premiership defender Chris Langford.Former Family Court judge Justice Linda Dessau, Wesfarmers board members Richard Goyder and Paul Bassat, Rio Tinto chief financial officer Chris Lynch and Virgin Australia board member Sam Moyston will also hear the case.