'Hird had input into supplement use'

Written By Unknown on Senin, 11 Februari 2013 | 23.40

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Denial ... Stephen Dank speaks for the first time on the ABC's 7.30. Source: ABC / Supplied

Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank says Essendon club coaches and management were well aware of the fully legal supplement program that he oversaw.

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Speaking on the ABC's 7.30, Dank said head coach James Hird and high-performance manager Dean Robinson even had input into the program.

While he denied players were on illegal substances, Dank made the startling allegation that there were coaches and support staff on supplements that would not be allowed under the WADA code.

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As the code only applies to players, the coaches and staff had not breached it.

He also revealed he had been interviewed by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and told he had done nothing wrong.

Investigations into drug use are currently being carried out by the AFL, ACC and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA).

Another of the allegations levelled at Dank was that players were given performance-enhancing supplements without their knowledge, which he denied, saying players signed consent forms and were briefed on the supplements given to them.

"There was a collective involvement, it wasn't just Stephen Dank, there was certainly input from other people into structuring the program," he said.

"Dean Robnson, James Hird, club doctor Bruce Reid, they were the main people involved in the knowledge of the program."

A program that Dank maintains was completely above board.

"I guess from our point of view - we were introducing a pretty broad range type program - we wanted them to be informed of what was to be undertaken during that program.

"Often times, especially in the early stages, we reaffirmed with the players that they knew what they were taking.

"I'm certainly very surprised (they've said they didn't know what they were taking) given how much time we spent discussing it with them."

Essendon kick off their NAB Cup campaign on Friday night against Collingwood and Western Bulldogs, which can be seen live and exclusive on Fox Footy.

Essendon sparked the debate into drugs in sport when they announced they had asked the AFL and ASADA to investigate their fitness regime in 2012.

"We want to get this investigation started. We want to get it done. We want to come out with a clean bill of health," Hird said last week.

"We want to move on with the footy season."

"I'm very disappointed - shocked is probably the best word.

"I believe we followed processes, we put in place the right sort of processes. My understanding is we worked within the framework given to us by the AFL and WADA."

Dank said players were introveniasly injected with vitamin B and vitamin C only, not the alleged illegal peptides.

During his time at Manly, Dank confirmed he had used calves' blood but said nothing illegal was given to players.

"We used a lot of supplements to be honest, but nothing different to other clubs," he said.

"We did use a little bit of calves blood there at one stage but that was no different to what was appropriate in the world of sport at the time.

"Any elite system pushes towards the boundary and it would be foolish to think Essendon are the only ones pushing the line and looking at these sorts of programs."

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