The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority extracted blood from Cronulla players at the club's final training session, sending a message its pursuit of drug cheats in the NRL is long term and it has no concerns for the sensitivities of athletes in big games.

Sharks officials are furious the anti-doping body sent staff to the club's last training session before the final against Manly and took blood samples, rather than the usual urine tests. Cronulla subsequently lost a close clash to the Sea Eagles. Apart from the discomfort of having blood taken, Sharks players were also unnerved by the reminder of the supplements crisis that has sat like a dark cloud above the club since the Australian Crime Commission's ''blackest day in sport'' announcement in February.

While ARLC chairman John Grant has indicated an ASADA report on the NRL's supplements scandal is imminent, the anti-doping body is clearly determined to establish blood profiles of players to establish ''biological passports'' in its long-term pursuit of cheats.

However, the AFL and NRL communities are convinced no infraction notices can be served against either code until sports scientist Stephen Dank is interviewed and provides evidence of which drugs were administered to whom. An internal report commissioned by the Sharks in February cites two banned drugs injected into players by a member of the Cronulla training staff at the instigation of Dank.

However, Dank took the Essendon program largely off site and the AFL anticipates he will remain silent and therefore not incriminate their players. It has emerged Dank could have become involved with the Melbourne Storm, except for the due diligence exercised by the club's football department, led by experienced football manager Frank Ponissi.

Dank approached Storm coach Craig Bellamy early last year while Dank was working with Essendon.

Coaches are forever seeking an edge and Dank promised to bring knowledge of GPS technology, altitude training and, importantly, aids to recovery, allowing injured players to resume training quickly.

Dank volunteered, at no cost to the Storm, to work with the club on his day off. When Bellamy raised the issue of Dank's involvement with Essendon, Dank indicated rugby league was his first love but he also lavished praise on the AFL's incredible resources.

Although there was no sports science position open at the Storm, Bellamy asked his staff to check Dank's bona fides. The sports science community is relatively small in Australia and is riven with jealousy and suspicion, which is why Bellamy insisted on a wide check. Intelligence came from four sources. Ironically, the most significant was Essendon. Although Dank was still working at the Bombers, the information from the AFL club was that he should not be employed at the Storm.

This information came well before Dank's subsequent exit from Essendon, reflecting the division within the club between those who wanted him out and the coaching staff who insisted on retaining him.

The Storm's first contact was Manly, where Dank worked for six years, and the feedback was Dank was ''let go'' because of poor staff relations and the club's parlous financial position.

Cronulla sources told the Storm Dank had been asked to leave, consistent with the findings of their internal report. Sharks doctor David Givney was team medico for the Kangaroos at the Four Nations tournament in November/December 2011 and he had expressed the same negative view of Dank reflected in the Sharks report. This opinion had made it way back to the Storm, consistent with the common message that Dank alienated staff. The due diligence established Dank would not be employed at the Storm if a sports science vacancy arose.

Questions remain over Dank's involvement elsewhere. There have been reports of serious health issues to a player while Dank was with the Gold Coast Suns, yet the AFL seems to believe ASADA's AFL interest is only in his involvement at Essendon.

Meanwhile, ASADA continues its investigations in the NRL, interviewing Penrith staff recently. Testers also arrived at the Roosters' last training session before their preliminary final match against the Knights. One club president said: ''Whatever the AFL get with sanctions, the NRL should be the same.''

Clarification
Following an early version report on Thursday, the Herald accepts that Kerry Chikarovski is not representing rugby league player Paul Gallen in any dealings with ASADA – and has therefore not breached any disclosure requirements for either the NSW or federal lobbying register. Mrs Chikarovski is not a former NSW deputy premier, as stated, but a former NSW opposition leader.