JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Drug shambles could work in players' favour

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Players viewed as victims in leaked report

Fairfax investigative journalist Nick McKenzie speaks with 3AW's Neil Mitchell about leaked information from ASADA's report into doping at Essendon.

PT0M0S 620 349

Some see the Essendon story as a conspiracy, in the Watergate vein. The departed chairman of the club, David Evans, recognised the Shakespearean elements when he deemed it "a tragedy".

But where there might have been elements of secrecy and duplicity at Essendon in 2011-12, much what emerges from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority report into the supplements disaster is a disorganised mess in which there was uncertainty about who was given what substance.

Remarkably, it is this sheer lack of oversight - the breakdown in protocols that were meant to be followed by officials - that looks set to save the players from the worst, namely lengthy suspensions for taking World Anti-Doping Agency-banned substances.

That worst could still happen, but it does not appear likely at this stage. ASADA still wishes to interview sports scientist Stephen Dank, the central figure in the scandal, as a result of its new powers (persons of interest who refuse to be interviewed can be fined up to $5100 a day, according to the new legislation, which has just taken effect).

The shambolic nature of the program threw the players into the fire, but it also means they should not get burnt.

The failure to keep proper records - and to adequately verify what, if anything, was actually banned - makes it harder for ASADA to issue infraction notices against individual players.

This obviously does not excuse the club - hence the long-speculated likelihood that the club will face sanctions from the AFL instead of the players being penalised by ASADA.

It is fair to question the extent to which these lack of specifics - eg, the naming of "Thymosin" on a form, rather than a more specific description of "Thymosin beta 4" (banned) or "Thymosin Alpha" (not banned) - was accidental. It is a question that Dank has not had to answer.

From what we hear, the report makes a strong case that banned substances were a) at the club, and b) administered. Hence, the suggestion that the club is off the hook if the players aren't suspended is simply not accurate.

The report paints Dank in a highly unflattering light, with others - including coach James Hird - seen as failing to keep track of a program that did indeed go rogue.

Fairfax Media believes that a reading of the report elicits sympathy for the players, whose evidence is understood to have been pretty candid and did not give the impression they were trying to conceal any practices or protect themselves.

No fewer than 11 players, for instance, stated their belief that they were told they were taking Thymosin, but they did not have any further knowledge of whether it was the banned variety or the innocuous one.

The report suggests there is strong circumstantial evidence that the banned version was administered.

But it cannot say to whom it was given, with any certainty. And for that shambles, the players - and ultimately the club and the AFL - must be thankful.

51 comments so far

  • The fact that Essendon barely won a match in the second half of 2012 only shows that they were only taking performance-debilitating drugs.

    Commenter
    Rita Hayworth
    Location
    Hollywood
    Date and time
    August 07, 2013, 9:26AM
    • That's a very simplistic view to take.

      Commenter
      Barney
      Location
      The Real World
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 12:19PM
    • Simple Barney. It's a joke! Try laughing. It's good for you!

      Commenter
      Rita
      Location
      Hollywood
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 12:56PM
  • You need to be careful Jake because the full weight of the wrath of Essendon supporters will fall on you just like it has on Caroline Wilson. The only acceptable scenario for those screaming supporters is one that never questions Hird, the Essendon Football Club or any of the players. Please understand that nothing untoward happened at the EFC - NOTHING - and to say otherwise as you have done in this article makes you an Essendon and Hird hater.

    Commenter
    Robbo
    Location
    Mt Eliza
    Date and time
    August 07, 2013, 9:31AM
    • Robbo - we're ok with questioning Hird et al, just as long as it's fact-based. And circumstantial evidence aint facts - actually it's wishful thinking to even associate the word "evidence" with Jake's dubious conclusions, but I'll let that slide. Here are the facts: ASADA have spent six months and come up with nada - not a single infraction notice has been issued! None. Zip. By comparison it took a matter of days to slap one on Saad.

      There are plenty of ubious conclusions being drawn around Collingwood (HGH) and Hawthorn's 2012 needle program but you don't hear Bomber fans screaming for an investigation. Why dignify rumours, innuendo and hearsay? Happily we still have the rule of law. Do you think Jake's conclusions would hold up in court?

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      Windy Hill
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 12:30PM
    • Get over yourself Robbo. Obviously you are a die hard Bombers boy. What are your thoughts on the Saints Ahmeed Saad situation?

      Commenter
      Cathy
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 1:18PM
    • @ Robbo,

      not all Essendon supporters think Hird is some sort of untouchable deity. Some of us are very angry with him and would like nothing more than to see him stood down as senior coach.

      Commenter
      blu
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 1:49PM
    • Disapprobing of that someone or some entity has done does not make one a "hater", to use that appalling lazy noun.

      Commenter
      BeachBoy
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 3:18PM
  • Right up front I will say I am a very strong Essendon Supporter and I am continually saddened and disappointed in what I have read. I whole hearted believe in James Hird. It is very unfortunate that the Essendon Club has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the so called "Support team" such as the medical team, that supposedly is there to do a specific job in order for the Coach and Players to concentrate on "their" job. I am a Compliance Consultant, albeit for the Financial" processes of Global companies, yet the basic compliance and review steps that should have been taken by the Essendon Club staff/support team has failed or non-existent. Basic steps such as accurate/critical informationshould have been documented and a review process similiar to an internal audit, documented in black and white steps should at the very least, have been taken place on a bi-annual basis and reported to the board. Stop all the blaming of the Coach and Players and concentrate on the real source of the failure....Essendon Support/Medical staff. Disciplinary Action should be taken to those who failed to put in place adequate controls, those who failed to follow any existing controls, those who received warnings and refused to act, those who blantantly knew and acted in the wrong doing. For the good of the Club and the Sport, lets apply reasonable decisions/sanctions/fines to those who failed in their duty, learn from what happened, close/tighten any existing and possible failures/risks and ensure that no other club or sport (outside of the AFL) will face what has become a debacle again.

    Commenter
    Justce
    Date and time
    August 07, 2013, 9:49AM
    • Yeah right, so pass the buck down the line to the loyal servants of the club. Hird, as head coach and as a long-term Bomber player, should know the culture of the club as well as anybody. If he put them in harm's way with his decisions, I'm sorry but HE bears responsibility for that. The staff at the club are expected to do their best for the side and will mostly do what they are told. If they are guilty of some things too so be it, but Hird is not as wonderful as his image makes out. And this is from an Essendon supporter.

      Commenter
      RobP
      Date and time
      August 07, 2013, 11:29AM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC ($1.06)vs NTH ($9.00) 19:50ES
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE vs ADE 13:05SS
BRI ($4.50)vs WBU ($1.20) 13:45G
PTA ($1.15)vs FRE ($5.50) 15:50Adelaide Oval
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($17.00) 16:40MCG
SYD ($1.04)vs GCF ($11.00) 19:20SCG
WCE ($1.04)vs STK ($11.00) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL ($3.00)vs GWS ($1.40) 13:10ES
COL ($1.28)vs ESS ($3.70) 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 21 17 4 0 125.10 68
West Coast Eagles 21 15 5 1 143.00 62
Hawthorn 21 15 6 0 156.77 60
Sydney Swans 21 15 6 0 124.11 60
Richmond 21 14 7 0 121.39 56
Western Bulldogs 21 14 7 0 116.76 56
Adelaide Crows 20 13 7 0 119.10 54
North Melbourne 21 13 8 0 109.08 52
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers