What me, worry?
'We're obviously under an AFL and ASADA investigation - we've got an investigation of our own going on. Cronulla is something that they've got to deal with.' Photo: Melissa Adams
James Hird is confident Essendon is not in the same boat as under-siege NRL club Cronulla Sharks, but admits the turmoil will take a toll on his players.
In Canberra for the Bombers' NAB Cup third-round clash against Greater Western Sydney on Friday night, the Essendon coach said it would be unrealistic to think that the doping drama unfolding at Cronulla would not affect his players.
As many as 14 Cronulla players have reportedly been urged to accept six-month suspensions after an Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation, which stems from the Australian Crime Commission report released last month.
The Cronulla players were told on Tuesday that if they had used a banned drug - wittingly or otherwise - they had 48 hours to accept a six-month ban or face the maximum two-year suspension if later found guilty by ASADA.
The NRL on Thursday issued a statement confirming Cronulla's match against the Gold Coast on Sunday would go ahead.
Essendon is under investigation by ASADA. Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank left the Sharks in 2011 and worked with the Bombers in 2012.
Hird remains confident none of his players will face suspension. Asked on Thursday if he was concerned, he said simply: ''No.''
The Bombers dropped a bombshell early last month when they revealed they were unsure of the legality of supplements their players took in 2012, and they are now the subject of three separate investigations - by ASADA, the AFL and the club itself.
''I think it would be unrealistic to say it's gone straight over their heads,'' Hird said of his players and the turmoil at Cronulla. ''There's an investigation going on that's a very serious investigation, but our players have been very resilient, very confident. ''They've played some really good football at times [during the pre-season] … they're ready for a game against GWS.''
Hird would not say if he had been questioned, or if the Bombers had had similar meetings with ASADA to the one Cronulla had on Tuesday. ''I'm not sure what happened at Cronulla,'' he said.
''We're obviously under an AFL and ASADA investigation - we've got an investigation of our own going on. Cronulla is something that they've got to deal with.''
GWS coach Kevin Sheedy said he was unaware of the details surrounding Cronulla and had ''no idea'' what would come of ASADA's investigation into Essendon.
''We need to really closely look at all areas of not only AFL but all sports in general and get our act together,'' he said. ''Put it all on the table now … and get the right attitude with the right people. And get anybody in that area of sports science that's not great [tell them], 'See you later', and start again.''