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Steve Dank interviewed on 7:30


7.30: Hello Steve. Please take a seat.

Dank: Thank you.

Last week most Australians had no idea who this man was. Yet today, Steve Dank is the man everyone is waiting to hear from.

7.30: We’ll get started.

7.30: Steve I will put to you firstly, you’ve been describe over previous days among other things as ‘the suited physiologist’ and ‘the pharmacist’. Who exactly are you?

Dank: Well I am a scientist, so biochemist by trade. Over the past few years I have been working more in biochemistry. My PhD right now to be submitted is in pharmacology.

Steve Dank is at the centre of the furore that erupted last week, when officials at AFL club Essendon called a surprise press conference announcing they had reported themselves to governing body ASADA.

Essendon management cited a supplements regime administered to its players in 2012 – the very year Steve Dank was in charge.

Today Steve Dank has decided it’s his turn to talk – and he’s not going down quietly.

 7.30: were Essendon officials then in the dark as they have claimed?

Dank: In terms of the program? No.

7.30: the supplements regime devised for the Essendon players. It terms of information you shared with Essendon officials and management and coaching staff, was everyone aware of what was involved in that regime?

Dank: Yes yes.

7.30: From the coach to management?

Dank: Yes. yeah I mean there were sometimes when a player would be with me in consultation or coach would be present so the coaches were well aware of what was happening.

Last week, Essendon officials and coach James Hird said they had only just learnt about concerns regarding the supplements being given to players.

But Steve Danks says he didn’t work alone, and that coach James Hird was at the epicentre of the program, along with high performance manager Dean Robinson.

Danks: There was a collective involvement you know it wasnt just Steve Dank. There was certainly input from people outside myself. There was a very significant involvement from Dean as the high performance manager, there was detailed discussion with James Hird, there was detailed discusison with the club doctor.

7.30: So who else specifically was aware let’s speak about this in factual terms, so Dean Robinson?

Dank: Dean Robinson, James Hird, the club doctor Bruce Reid. Um, they were sort of the main people involved in the knowledge of the program.

Steve Dank’s background in elite football didn’t begin at Essendon or with the AFL.

It began in the NRL.

Over the past two decades, Dank has consulted to five NRL teams including a premiership stint with Manly from 2004 to 2010.

In 2008 questions were raised about Dank’s practices at Manly alongside coach Des Hasler – and whether their boundary-pushing techniques were fully within the rules.

7.30:  Much has been rumoured about your time with many, injections of calves blood, peptides being used, rumour of substances administered intravenously. It was highly secretive. What did you do there?

Dank: Well I don’t know it was highly secretive except from the point of view des liked to keep everything protected. We used a lot of supplements to be honest no different to any club, vitamins, protein powders, amino acids. Um. We used calves blood there during the time but that was no different to what else was around and appropriate to sport at the time.

7.30: So nothing fell over the line or over the edge?

Dank: No, no

Steve Dank left Manly in 2010. The following year he was invited to join Essendon by the club’s sports performance manager, Dean Robinson.

7.30: What were you asked to do? what was the plan with Essendon?

Dank: Essentially as a sports scientist so obviously to you know put science into the program to support dean and the strength and conditioning staff. Part of that did involve a supplement program obviously which we tried to make a little bit more specific to the requirements of AFL.

A key question is whether Essendon players were aware of exactly what supplements they were being injected with.

Yesterday the deputy CEO of the AFL, Gillon McLachlan announced that the Essendon players knew nothing.

It’s an allegation Steve Dank denies.

He says before the supplements regime began, all Essendon players were asked to sign consent forms.

7.30: Alongside consent forms were players fully informed of what they were to be administered?

Dank: Yes yes. And often at early times particularly in the early stages we’d get them to reaffirm what they were taking and what they were doing, yep. And so there was a lot of discussion with the players on that.

7.30: how does your answer sit with the fact that former Essendon players have now spoken publicly regarding the fact that they were completely unaware of what they were being given?

Dank:  Mmm certainly very surprised very surprise. Certainly very, very surprised considering the amount of discussion we had with the players.

7.30: So which version of the story is correct?

Dank: Well obviously I say my version of the story is correct. You know we certainly spent a lot of time and even as the season progressed we certainly still kept that dialogue going quite strongly.

7.30: Did you inject any Essendon players with a prohibited substance?

Dank: No.

7.30: What did you inject essendon players with?

Dank: Oh look they had intravenous injections for vitamin B and vitamin C which are quite compliant with the WADA code.

7.30: WHAT else were essendon players injected with?

Dank: Nothing else intravenously.

7.30: How then were peptides applied because there is a suggestion peptides were applied intravenously?

Dank: No there was no intravenous application of peptides whatsoever.

7.30:  How then were they applied?

Dank: I wont go through the specifics of the whole program.

7.30:  So how many peptides were used?

Dank: Well look to be honest peptides is a fairly broad term, even within the protein powders themselves there could have been between 3 to 4 different peptides that were part of the ingredients by definition a peptide is anything that strings more than 2 amino acids together so certainly a lot of these formulations would have had various peptides but all very very legal and all within the constraints of WADA.

Based on the Australian Crime Commission’s report released last week, Steve Dank has been implicated in a possible breach of the WADA rules by administering supplements illegally

7.30: What is your response to that? Did you?

Dank: No.

7.30:  Explain to me how you didn’t.

Dank: Well we had a program, it was well documented, it was discussed at all levels throughout the club in terms of what the supplements were and the regime and dosages and what time of the day or week you know.

Dank says every supplement used on Essendon players was logged in a detailed electronic register kept on the club’s intranet.

And Essendon players weren’t the only club members on a supplements regime.

Coaches and staff were also on supplement regimes to enhance their performance.

Dank: Um look there were some differences in what we offered the coaches. Let’s face it the coaches themselves are not subjected to any WADA code.

7.30: How many coaches or Essendon staff outside the playing assembly were taking supplements?

Dank: Off the top of my head 3 4 or 5 taking vitamin supplements, protein supplements, um …

7.30: And were they taking supplements that are outside of the regulations and again they are entitled to do so because they aren’t playing they are not players?

Dank: Look to be perfectly honest a couple of coaches were using supplements that were  a little but outside the WADA code but again they were entitled to it and nothing illegal in those.

At the end of September 2012 – three days after Essendon’s final game of the season – Steve Dank was told by club management that his contract would not be renewed for 2013.

Behind the scenes, something far more serious was going on.

Steve Dank was being interviewed by the ACC.

Dank: They were obviously quite happy with what i had discussed with them and i figured that must have been consistent with whatever information they had. And they indicated to me they were happy with that information.

7.30: How did the ACC indicate that, what were the words they used?

Dank: Oh they said they didn’t think I had done anything wrong

7.30: To confirm the acc told you personally they did not believe that you had done anything wrong?

7.30: Correct.

Last week 7:30’s investigations revealed the extent of Dank’s other commercial enterprises, including two medical rejuvenation clinics registered in Victoria and NSW.

Dank says his clinics are legitimate and completely separate to his work consulting to elite football teams.

7.30: Who are your patients? Are they athletes?

Dank: No. So for example we only deal in an anti ageing space or a rejuvenated space. Certainly no athletes frequent the clinic and we concentrate our work on the executive so the executive in the later years of their life, a patient a little bit obese, a patient with lethargy due to strenuous work period. So there’s a cascade of different reasons why patients come to the clinic.

7.30: 7:30 has taken a very thorough look at medical rejuvenation clinics presence online. The website where a wide variety of supplement are being sold. what are these supplements?

Dank: They’re peptides. They’re legal peptides. Basically most of the peptides are oriented towards enhancing growth hormone release.

There’s another peptide oriented towards proving the efficacy of testosterone efficacy.

7.30: You’ve just mentioned they’re all legal. I want to be very clear with this. Are any of the supplements or substances you sell through the medical rejuvenation clinic, are any prohibited?

Dank: No

7.30: Illegal?

Dank: No

7.30: Banned?

Dank: No.

But there’s one product on Dank’s website that stands out.

Last week 7:30 discovered that Dank’s medical rejuvenation clinics were selling a compound known as GHRP-6 or peptide 6.

It’s a supplement with similar properties to human growth hormone, and is banned by the Australian Anti Doping Authority of Australia. And drug testing won’t pick it up in urine samples – regulators here have no way of detecting it.

7.30: This is the very supplement rumoured to be at the heart of the Essendon scandal?

Dank: Yes yes

7.30: It’s a very curious link?

Dank: Well it’s probably only a curious link because I happened to be ah working at Essendon and them my other business interest happened to be selling it. But to be honest that’s no different to a situation where a club doctor you know in his a medical bag will carry certain things which will of course be prohibited in a sporting setting but they can use it in a therapeutic setting. So it’s fairly easy association to be made but under no circumstances what ghrp6 ever used at Essendon.

7.30: So  the medical rejuvenation clinic is a distinct entity that has no crossover with any of your consultancy work with football teams or Essendon?

Dank:  No.

It’s not just the substances Dank sells that have caught the attention of authorities.

In the wake of the Australian Crime Commission’s explosive report last week linking organised crime to elite sporting codes in Australia, 7:30 discovered that some of Dank’s business associates had their own alleged links to organised criminal elements.

7.30: It seems like two worlds colliding. To an outsider, I’ll put it to you like this.  Steve Dank on the one hand a highly experienced sports scientist highly qualified with a PhD on the way, and two co directors with links to outlaw motorcycle figures and underworld figures. It’s a very unlikely pairing.

Dank: Well again as I said there isn’t anything to substantiate any links to bikie gangs so from my point of view that isn’t the case.

7.30: Have they assured you there are no links?

Dank: Um well not really because there’s nothing to be assured. i just know there is no link.

In a press conference yesterday the deputy CEO of the AFL, Gillon McLachlan, made this announcement:

Today Essendon declined to respond on-camera, telling 7:30 there was an investigation underway already by the AFL and regulator ASADA.

Dank: I think any elite system pushes towards a boundary and I think it’d be fairly silly to think Essendon was the only club pushing the line. I don’t think ah, it’d be foolish to think Essendon were the only club that were looking at these sort of programs.

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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 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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