FORMALITY? Essendon looks set to receive its first wooden spoon since 1933.
FORMALITY? Essendon looks set to receive its first wooden spoon since 1933. JOE CASTRO

Who’s most in need of being spoon fed?

IT'S been 83 years since Essendon won its fourth and last wooden spoon.

And if there was actually a player draft back then it would also have been the last time the club would have been 'awarded' the coveted No.1 draft pick.

That, of course, all looks likely to change with the embattled Bombers on course to collect it's first last-place finish since 1933 - and with it its first National Draft No.1 selection.

For fans it would be a real positive in a negative season.

Essendon, which had shocked Melbourne in round two, now sits where everyone expected it to be - on the bottom - after Fremantle finally registered its first win of the season.

But does the club, which has endured the suspension of 12 first-choice players embroiled in the infamous supplements scandal of 2012, deserve such a windfall?

Certainly not if you asked outspoken Port Adelaide president David Koch, who was crowing on his Sunrise program this week, that "it does not seem right ... it's not a great look".

Essendon great, father of suspended skipper Jobe and media commentator, Tim Watson, fired back at his Channel Seven counterpart.

"The rules are what the rules are and Essendon deserve the No.1 pick if they finish 18th," he argued.

While Kochy is right on one level - it isn't a good look for the competition.

But the AFL had handed out its own punishment well before the World Anti-Doping Agency took up the fight to have the club, or more to the point, the players, penalised with 12-month bans.

For bringing the game into disrepute, the league fined the club $2 million - the largest in Australian sporting history - ruled it ineligible to contest the 2013 finals, and stripped it of its first two picks in the 2013 and 2014 national drafts.

Effectively, the Bombers were denied the chance to select midfield bull Patrick Cripps in 2013, taken at pick 13 by Carlton. In 2014, they got back into the draft's first round after trading Paddy Ryder to Kochy's club.

"The fact then that they finish where they do this year is a result of the number of suspended players. The same thing could happen if you had injured players," Watson added.

The AFL appears to agree, football operations manager David Evans stating that they thought punishment "should end" with the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision.

"I think the competition needs for Essendon to rebuild," he said.

Of course, the 17th-placed Brisbane Lions could yet make a play for the No.1 pick as a priority selection on top of whatever first-rounder they receive.

Lions chief executive Greg Swann has denied they will request it, as they did last year, but they could yet make a decent case if they endure another sub-five win season.

It has been done before, in 2007 when Carlton finished second last but after collecting just seven wins across 2006-07, was handed the No.1 pick later used on Matthew Kruezer.


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