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The 2012 AFL Brownlow medal saga

AAP logoAAP 13/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

2011-12: Sports scientist Stephen Dank oversees a supplements regime at Essendon before leaving the club

September 24, 2012: Essendon captain Jobe Watson is a popular winner of the Brownlow Medal. He polls 30 votes, with Richmond's Trent Cotchin and Hawthorn's Sam Mitchell sharing second place on 26

2013

Watson plays 19 games

February 5: Essendon coach James Hird, chairman David Evans and chief executive Ian Robson hold a media conference, announcing the club is coming under a joint AFL-ASADA investigation that will look into their supplements regime. By August 2015, all three have left the club

June 24: As the supplements debacle continues to unfold, Watson gives a TV interview where he admits taking the anti-obesity drug AOD-9604. At the time, AOD-9604 is considered a key substance in the Essendon saga

June 27: West Coast fans boo Watson repeatedly as the Eagles host Essendon at Subiaco. Watson was emotional after the game, which the Bombers won narrowly

2014

Watson plays 15 games

June 12: The anti-doping process officially starts, with ASADA issuing show cause notices against Watson and 33 other current and past Essendon players over the supplements regime

October 17: After Essendon and Hird make unsuccessful legal challenges, ASADA issues fresh show cause notices

November 14: The AFL serves infraction notices against the 34 players. While Watson and Dustin Fletcher play for Australia in international rules, the others immediately start provisional suspensions

December 15: The AFL anti-doping tribunal starts its hearing, which is held in private

2015

Watson plays 12 games

March 31: Watson and the other 33 players are cleared

May 12: WADA launches an appeal against the anti-doping tribunal's findings on the 34 players, taking the case to the Confederation of Aribitration for Sport

November 16: WADA's CAS appeal is underway

2016

January 12: CAS rules against the 34 players and the 17 still on AFL lists - including Watson and 11 others at Essendon. They are banned for the season. The AFL says pending any appeal by the players, the commission will conduct a hearing to decide whether Watson should keep his Brownlow

February 9: The 34 players launch a last-ditch appeal through the Swiss legal system

September 22: Watson confirms he will return to Essendon, ending weeks of speculation about his AFL future

October 11: The players' appeal fails

November 11: Watson says he will hand back his Brownlow, with mixed feelings. He made the announcement before the AFL commission met to discuss the issue

November 15: The commission rules that Cotchin and Mitchell are now the 2012 Brownlow Medallists

November 22: Essendon coach John Worsfold admits Watson has struggled at training since giving up his Brownlow. But Worsfold is also confident that Watson will play next season

December 13: Cotchin and Mitchell receive their medals at a lunchtime ceremony in Melbourne.

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