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Club doctor 'frozen out'

Date

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Caroline Wilson

James Hird yesterday.

James Hird yesterday. Photo: Jason South

The South Yarra doctor who authorised blood tests for Essendon players at the request of sports scientist Stephen Dank has said it was "really weird" that he was used rather than club doctor Bruce Reid.

Amid other revelations in the growing scandal, Fairfax Media can reveal that:

■ Numerous text messages between coach James Hird and Mr Dank show the coach was told specific details about the supplement program, including the use of intravenous administration.

■ Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigators are trying to build a doping case against Essendon over its use of anti-obesity drug AOD9604 and have sought information about a corporate presentation given last year by the drug's maker to Hird and club chairman David Evans.

The suspected freezing out of Dr Reid from the Bombers' supplement program is a key part of the serious internal governance failings at the club that contributed to players being exposed to potential health and doping risks.

It is understood that Dr Reid, who has been at the club for many years and is close to many of its senior officials, has been interviewed at length by ASADA investigators about his concerns over the supplement program, in which players were injected with or otherwise administered a range of unusual supplements.

Another club doctor, Brendan De Morton, has also been interviewed by ASADA.

Dr Reid has provided ASADA with copious notes of practices that worried him and warnings he gave. He said he voiced misgivings to several administrators at the club and key football department personnel.

He also reported that he wrote to the board with his concerns, although it is uncertain whether the Essendon directors were ever made aware of that letter.

South Yarra doctor Robin Willcourt has told Fairfax Media that it was unusual he was called on as an external doctor by Mr Dank. Dr Willcourt has said he signed off on forms for the players to get blood tests at the request of Mr Dank, who asked for his informal advice on improving player health.

An anti-ageing and sports nutrition doctor who is a former medical director at Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital pregnancy centre, Dr Willcourt said:"I agree that looking at it now, it is really weird that they didn't get the club doctor to sign off on the requests. But at the time, I didn't think much about it. The whole issue of doping was the farthest thing from my mind."

He never treated or met any players, never signed off on any prescriptions and did not order or administer any supplements to players.

He said that, at the request of Mr Dank, he "informally reviewed" player blood test results compiled by a pathologist.

"I looked at the blood-work of about 20 players and gave my comments, like, 'This guy needs his growth hormone up or his testosterone up.'" The pair had also discussed what supplements could achieve the desired results.

The revelations come after AFL chief Andrew Demetriou and David Evans said action would be taken against any Essendon club official found to have acted improperly in exposing players to potentially risky supplement practices.

They were responding to reports on Thursday in Fairfax Media about Hird's strong backing and encouragement of Mr Dank's supplement program, as well as claims from the sports scientist that Hird was also injected with supplements, including one banned for use in players by doping authorities.

The reports also revealed that Hird was told by Mr Dank specific details about what players were being given, the fact they were being injected with supplements and the desire to give more supplements to older or injured players.

Fairfax also reported what the Essendon players had been given, including a peptide extracted from pig's brain, the first milk from a mother cow, and anti-obesity drug AOD9604, which Mr Dank said he used to help injured players.

Mr Dank has denied his work led to the breaching of any doping laws or exposed any player to harm.

ASADA continues to investigate Essendon's use of AOD9604, having been given interim advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency that it was banned at the time of use under a catch-all rule that prohibits supplements not approved for therapeutic use.

Among the information sought by ASADA is a corporate presentation given last year by the drug's maker, Calzada, to Hird and Evans, who owns a broking firm. It is understood Evans attended the briefing, which detailed the potential of AOD and Calzada's other products, at the request of Hird after the coach spoke to Mr Dank.

No investment was made in Calzada as a result of the briefing and the same presentation was given to other broking firms.

ASADA is aware of legal advice that raises concerns about the prospects of any AOD9604 action succeeding and may yet abandon its probe into the use of the drug.

Related Coverage

Doctor who tried to blow the whistle

Doctor Bruce Reid's disenchantment with the fitness and conditioning regime embraced by Essendon coach James Hird has added another damaging layer to the star coach's predicament following allegations he took banned substances.

Experts 'surprised' by selection of drugs in Essendon allegations

The substances allegedly administered to Essendon players and coach James Hird by sports scientist Stephen Dank range from widely used ''vanity drugs'' to those that have ''significant potential to improve sports performance'', medical experts say.

Hird to admit receiving injections: report

Essendon AFL coach James Hird is expected to tell anti-doping authorities he received two injections from sports scientist Stephen Dank, but they were for health reasons.

Hird injected drugs

Essendon coach James Hird has been accused of injecting a WADA-blacklisted drug in a program where his players were given another substance anti-doping regulators now say should be banned.

The Weapon takes aim straight at Dons coach James Hird

Former Essendon high-performance boss Dean Robinson has claimed James Hird wanted him to investigate a testosterone cream that was 'undetectable', and has called for the Essendon coach to stand down.

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR vs RIC 19:20MCG
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GCF 13:40MCG
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
BRI vs COL 19:20G
WBU vs WCE 19:20ES
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
ADE vs NTH 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs PTA 18:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GEE 15:20MCG
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Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs CAR 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WBU 13:45MCG
GWS vs MEL 14:10SO
COL vs ADE 16:35ES
GCF vs STK 19:20MS
PTA vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE vs FRE 13:10SS
ESS vs HAW 15:20MCG
NTH vs BRI 16:40ES
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Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs STK 19:50MCG
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ESS 13:45MCG
ADE vs MEL 14:10Adelaide Oval
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
NTH vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs RIC 19:20G
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs WBU 13:10AS
GEE vs GCF 15:20SS
WCE vs FRE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC vs MEL 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 11:10NZ
ESS vs COL 14:40MCG
GWS vs GCF 17:40SO
PTA vs HAW 19:40Adelaide Oval
FRE vs SYD 20:40Domain Stadium
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BRI vs WCE 13:10G
GEE vs NTH 15:20SS
WBU vs ADE 16:40ES
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Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GEE 13:45MCG
SYD vs WBU 14:10SCG
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
NTH vs HAW 19:20ES
WCE vs GWS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs FRE 13:10MCG
STK vs ESS 15:20ES
ADE vs PTA 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 19:50MCG
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 13:45BA
WBU vs STK 14:10ES
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ADE 17:10MS
MEL vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs BRI 15:20ES
PTA vs WCE 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs STK 13:45Adelaide Oval
HAW vs MEL 14:10MCG
CAR vs GWS 16:35ES
SYD vs GEE 19:20ANZ
WCE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
RIC vs COL 15:20MCG
BRI vs PTA 16:40G
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Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE vs CAR 19:50ES
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs WCE 13:45ES
GWS vs ADE 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs COL 16:35MS
HAW vs SYD 19:20MCG
FRE vs NTH 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
PTA vs RIC 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs STK 13:10G
COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
STK vs HAW 16:40ES
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 16:40ES
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Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
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Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
BRI vs ADE 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:20ES
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
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Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs STK 13:10ES
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
BRI vs SYD 16:40G
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Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
COL vs WCE 16:35ES
SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
STK vs RIC 16:40ES
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Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
BRI vs NTH 19:20G
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 13:10ES
MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
NTH vs STK 14:10BA
PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
BRI vs CAR 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
STK vs GEE 19:20ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK vs SYD 15:20ES
FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
BRI vs WBU 00:00G
PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 
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