As the Essendon supplements saga appears to be coming to an end, Bombers great Matthew Lloyd says there is a growing feeling the players will escape censure.
That interpretation has gained momentum after comments made by AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and players' association boss Matt Finnis last week.
Demetriou says there is uncertainty over whether the peptide AOD-9604 was banned at the time it was allegedly administered last year, while Finnis insists players were not to blame and were put in an ''absolutely untenable position'', having believed the supplements they were given were approved by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and club medical staff.
The Bombers also maintain that sports scientist Stephen Dank had a letter confirming the peptides were not banned.
''I think that's where the confidence out of Essendon is so strong. I am just believing now from a comment Gillon [McLachlan] made last week, Andrew Demetriou yesterday [Friday], the way Matty Finnis represented the players - the club is at fault here,'' Lloyd said on 3AW. ''It just seems like a big fine for the club, maybe [the loss of] draft picks, but the Essendon Football Club believes premiership points won't be a factor and the players should be OK.''
The AFL has said any punishment could include the loss of premiership points. As the Bombers are ensconced in the top eight, this could mean the team in ninth position could slip into the finals.
Former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas took to Twitter on Saturday, claiming: ''Andy preparing us for soft decision re Bomber drug issue. Weighed in with doubt around drug being on banned list. WADA says it's banned.''
Essendon chairman David Evans, the board, coach James Hird, his coaching staff and the medical department also face uncertain futures until the probe is complete.
The joint investigation by ASADA and the AFL is also focusing on whether players were administered Melanotan II, anti-ageing drug TA65, Interleukin 6, Cerebrolysin and Thymosin Beta 4, the latter a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since at least 2011 for its performance-enhancing effect and viewed more seriously than the failed anti-obesity drug AOD-9604.