Casting the movie adaptation of the Essendon saga

For the past three years it’s teased, tantalised and, ok, become a little tedious every now and then. But there’s surely a movie in the long-running Essendon supplements saga.

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Or perhaps it’s a 10-part mini series, a la Making a Murderer – Essendon fans would argue the miscarriage of justice is just as great as that highlighted by the top-rating Netflix Series.

Whether it’s a movie or TV project, it’s going to need a name – Doped? Juiced? Whatever – and a cast.

For an up-to-date explainer on the saga, click here.

The show will be built around fallen Bombers legend James Hird, his wife Tania, AFL heavyweights Andrew Demetriou and Gillon McLachlan, and ASADA boss Ben McDevitt. So we’ll need some real star wattage there.

Elsewhere there’ll be cameos from former Labor Ministers Kate Lundy and Jason Clare, who kicked off the whole thing and then disappeared, and non-speaking roles for the likes of former Bombers boss Ian Robson, who attended a first fateful press conference with Hird and then club chairman David Evans, but didn’t say a whole lot. (Evans will be prominent in the early stages of the project and then pretty much vanish, albeit dramatically.)

No doubt producers will already be putting the project together. To prove yet again that The New Daily is here to help, our dedicated team have put together a cast you’d pay good many to see. (Or the money you would have used to watch footy this year but now won’t because there’ll be dud matches every weekend thanks to some largely unknown dudes out of Switzerland or wherever.)

So, without any further ado, we present the cast (in order of appearance):

Kate Lundy played by Sigrid Thornton

kate lundy

Thornton just needs some glasses and then she’ll be all set to play the senator who took part in the infamous ‘blackest day in sport’ press conference.

Jason Clare played by Sullivan Stapleton


With a good shave, Stapleton bears an uncanny resemblance to the then home affairs minister.

Andrew Demetriou played by Anthony LaPaglia

andrew demetriou

Whack some glasses on LaPaglia and you’ve got a “separated at birth” situation.

James Hird played by David Wenham

james hird

With his sandy blond hair, freckled complexion and stoic stare, Wenham would nail what is arguably the most important role in the film – the team’s beleaguered coach. Long curly locks and all.

David Evans played by Guy Pearce

david evans

Although Pearce’s appearance would be brief, he would ensure it was memorable.

Tania Hird played by Naomi Watts

tania hird

Aside from the obvious physical similarities, we know Watts has got the strong, serene mother and wife act down pat. Need evidence? Check her performance in tsunami epic The Impossible. The Essendon saga is only slightly more tumultuous.

Gillon McLachlan played by Hugh Jackman

gillon mclachlan

Australia’s sweetheart Hugh Jackman possesses the right mix of natural leadership skills, charisma and dark-haired good looks to play the league’s conciliatory CEO.  He might just have to leave the Wolverine claws at home.

Mike Fitzpatrick played by Rodger Corser

mike fitzpatrick

Thanks to his turn on short-lived political drama Party Tricks, Corser is no stranger to a suit. He’s also got more than enough dramatic range to portray the quietly powerful AFL commissioner.

Jobe Watson played by Liam Hemsworth

jobe watson

It’s Hollywood lore that in order to attract a younger female audience to your movie, at least one Hemsworth brother has to be involved. It’s just a happy coincidence that Liam happens to possesses the same broad-shouldered physique and rugged facial hair as the team’s Brownlow-winning captain. There would have to be shirtless scene in there at some point.

Tim Watson played by Bryan Brown

tim watson

Brown has the looks and the emotional gravitas to portray the television and radio commentator caught between impartiality and supporting his son.

Stephen Dank played by Sam Neill

stephen dank

Neill would have to gain a bit of weight for the role, but he’d nail the controversial role of the club’s sport scientist.

Dean Robinson played by Joel Edgerton

dean robinson

Edgerton and Robinson share the same piercing blue eyes and solid physique.

Paul Little played by Ed Harris

paul little

For the former Essendon chairman, we might have to veer outside the exclusively Australian cast to hire uncanny American lookalike Ed Harris.

Paul Connors played by Eric Bana

paul connors

As a player manager, Connors has to keep a lot of different people happy. We think the similarly-coiffed Bana is up to the job.

Jake Carlisle played by Sam Worthington

jake carlisle

Although Carlisle could probably play himself (he’s had on-camera experience) Sam Worthington would be perfect for the role of the scandalous St Kilda recruit.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson played by Ben Mendelsohn

mark bomber thompson

The ridiculously versatile Ben Mendelsohn has what it takes to embody the quirkiness and steel of the assistant coach-turned-head coach.

Caroline Wilson played by Gina Riley


If you are able to put her role in Kath & Kim out of your mind you’ll be able to envision comedian Riley in a dramatic role as The Age‘s chief football writer.

Ben McDevitt played by Russell Crowe

ben mcdevitt

We want a Crowe comeback and we reckon playing the head of ASADA is the right way to do it. 


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