The Weapon zeroes in on Hird
Former high performance manager Dean Robinson hints at a 'black op' style supplements program, saying Essendon coach wanted an edge over other teams.PT0M0S 620 349
''The Weapon'' had two obvious ambitions in his interview with Luke Darcy. One was to smear James Hird - with a dodgy cream, a police raid and everything untoward that happened at Windy Hill. The other was to elicit sympathy for his own plight and emotional breakdown.
Dean Robinson's The Inside Man special was a combination of a 60 Minutes-style expose - and there was some unpleasant new material for Essendon and Hird and even the AFL to deal with, as well as a summary of what has been reported - and one of those teary sit-downs that Oprah specialises in.
But it was certainly not Lance Armstrong sitting with Oprah to confess his sins. It was the sins of others, one person above all, that Robinson's talk was focused on. His tell-all was directed at Essendon, and in particular, at Hird. The discussion of Essendon's supplements program was dominated by his attacks on the coach.
The most serious new allegation - which Robinson had repeated to ASADA - was that Hird had phoned him from New York and encouraged him to investigate an ''undetectable cream'' that Robinson told ASADA he suspected was testosterone.
Tellingly, Robinson did not mention Mark Thompson, Hird's assistant and the man whom he worked under at Geelong. This was an interesting omission, since one would assume that Thompson was instrumental in bringing him to Windy Hill.
The impression created of Hird was obviously and overwhelmingly negative, as Robinson intended. He suggested that ''whatever it takes'' was the leitmotif for the coach, who had thought Collingwood was up to no good.
The view of Stephen Dank was mixed - ''unsure'' was his one-word description of the contentious chemist, whom he at one point trusted with the treatment of his family. His view of Dank was as confused as his view of Hird was clear.
Robinson also portrayed himself as a quasi-whistleblower, having ''pulled back'' the supplements program for this year.
But he also suggested that he didn't know what was going on behind some doors - particularly at one clinic where Dank treated the players and ran up a bill of more than $60,000.
One of the most interesting new pieces of information relayed by Robinson was that David Zaharakis alone of the players didn't want to be involved in the ''black ops'' program - the sneak preview line that the program had been sold on, but which wasn't actually the substance of the interview, so to speak.
Robinson started on the emotional front, dramatically describing how he had contemplated suicide. Then the narrative began of how he had come to Windy Hill via Geelong and Gold Coast, hired Dank and been drawn into Hird's ''inner sanctum''.
Channel Seven had a disclaimer on Robinson's claim about the alleged Federal Police raid on Hird's home. Responses to this and other questions raised by Robinson will be fascinating.
Seven acknowledged that Robinson was paid for his story, which is no surprise. It got its money's worth.