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Stephen Dank warns more to play out in the never-ending Essendon drugs saga

 Stephen Dank has warned there is more to play out in the never-ending Essendon drugs saga, claiming he will put key witnesses from football's biggest story on the stand and, as a result, leave ASADA with "huge" questions to answer about the investigation that led to 34 past and present Bombers players receiving year-long bans.

In a continuation of Dank's recent approach of avoiding high-profile mainstream media, he offered an extensive late-night interview to 3RRR's Party Show over the weekend and made a number of strong statements aimed at some of the saga's most prominent figures.

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Hird: Mistake made by some players

Former Essendon coach James Hird says the banned 34 players made a "mistake" in keeping the injecting program a secret from anti-doping testers. Vision courtesy ABC

In addition to claiming that former AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou will be "facing some issues" arising from Dank's proposed legal action, the sports scientist who administered the controversial drugs program also said former Essendon chief executive Ian Robson had "a lot to answer for" and also named club doctors at the time – Bruce Reid and Brendan De Morton – as two people who would have to "face certain things … at certain times".

During the interview, Dank was questioned several times about the existence of the detailed records that he claimed he kept through a supplements program he said was "certainly robust in governance".

Dank claimed that he had confirmation from a "very robust" body that the spreadsheets and the documentation associated with the products used at Essendon were "certainly in the keeping of at least ASADA", and "probably the AFL as well".

"Certainly from my end, I believe there is proof that exists in terms of what the players took and that substantiates everything that I've said all the way along," he said.


A theory was put to Dank during the interview that someone at Essendon had hit the delete button on some of the records, to which Dank replied: "That's been put to me by two people, two people who I believe are well placed to support that theory".

Dank gave extensive answers to some questions and only vague, restricted answers to others, asked by two interviewers who were known to him, and again, Dank refused to answer "specifics" about the supplements program and the drugs involved until he could do so in a "more appropriate forum".

The two interviewers were Dr John Fitzgerald, associate professor at Melbourne University and drug and alcohol expert, and host Headley Gritter.

When asked what he thought went wrong at Essendon, he replied: "I think the problem was that, when a certain amount of pressure was applied from certain members at the top of the AFL chain, the Essendon Football Club had to remain, I guess, within the bear claws of the AFL instead of having the courage to stand up".

He then added: "To be honest, Ian Robson has a lot to answer for".

Among other statements, Dank claimed that some players had family members present when they had injections in the program and stressed that no player was ever asked to not fully disclose the supplements they were being given when drug tested by ASADA.

Dank said it was "laughable" that Thymosin beta-4 – the banned substance the "Essendon 34" were found guilty of taking by the CAS – was even considered performance enhancing and downplayed the importance of the supplements program in what he was trying to achieve at Essendon, working closely with fitness boss Dean Robinson.

Dank claimed the supplements program was simply an "adjunct to bigger areas of physiology that we were developing".

This is contradictory to a text message that emerged during the ASADA investigation, where it is alleged Dank said to Robinson: "don't forget how important Thymosin is. This is going to be our vital cornerstone next year".

In another statement, Dank said ASADA needed to go "back to kindergarten" if it thought Thymosin beta-4 was at the forefront of doping.

Exactly how he knew this was not followed up on by those interviewing.

Dank has a number of planned law suits in the works against media organisations, so it is likely that subsequent legal action that brought to the surface any flaws in ASADA's investigation would be too late to help those players who had been banned.

But Dank continued his long-running narrative that he had done nothing wrong and that his legal action would uncover the truth, eventually.

Speaking generally, and not specific about any one person, Dank said his lawyers had checked over every piece of evidence from the AFL and the Court of Arbitration for Sport hearings and were now threatening to sue "everyone who has provided misinformation".

"So what happens in the witness box when they can't substantiate the evidence?" Dank asked during the 3RRR's Party Show interview.

"You're going to have quite a number of pieces that will be refuted and proved to be refutable … that's going to leave the AFL, the NRL and most importantly ASADA with very huge questions to answer."