Dank had no input at the Raiders: Furner
Canberra Raiders Coach David Furner. Photo: Jay Cronan
RAIDERS coach David Furner has revealed he held a one-off meeting with controversial sport scientist Stephen Dank in 2010 but said the NRL club had no association with him that would warrant investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
Furner and then-Raiders trainer Matt Ford met Dank at the club's Bruce headquarters.
The meeting was organised in consultation with NRL statistical analyst Andrew Moufarrige, of Sportsdata. Moufarrige and Dank had been part of a large support staff at the Manly Sea Eagles under coach Des Hasler.
Stephen Dank. Photo: Tim Clayton
Furner said there was no discussion about supplements, instead Dank had talked to the club about an altitude-training system.
Dank had worked on altitude training with other sporting clubs, including the Brisbane Lions AFL club in 2009. Furner said the Raiders had no dealings with Dank beyond that meeting.
Asked if the meeting could have been the reason why the Raiders were named in the Australian Crime Commission's report into organised crime and drugs in sport, Furner said ''no''.
''He came down [to Canberra] and I met him there, but nothing about coming on board,'' Furner said. 'That was only a meeting, I wasn't interested in pursuing anything anyway.''
The Raiders have been warned they may be investigated by ASADA for an isolated allegation of doping, but the Raiders remain adamant that the club's processes have not been compromised.
ASADA representatives gave a briefing on the investigation to Raiders players and staff last month at the invitation of chief executive Don Furner.
Furner said there had not been any further correspondence with ASADA since that meeting, held on February 14.
Despite the drama at Cronulla this week, coach Furner said he and his players remained unaffected. The Raiders won all three of their trials, including beating both of last year's grand finalists, heading into Sunday's season-opener in Penrith.
''We had that meeting with the ASADA people for the players to come and ask questions and that's been it,'' Furner said.
''The side itself, you only have to look at the trials, they haven't lost the focus on what it's about.
''I can't do anything about it and the team can't. It hasn't fazed or worried any of the players here.''
Raiders and Kangaroos prop David Shillington said the team's preparation had not been unsettled by the situation at the Sharks. ''It's crazy times at Cronulla and I can't imagine what the players are feeling today and how their heads are. For us, obviously we got named in that report but we're not concerned with [anything] at the moment and hopefully that stays the case as the weeks roll on,'' Shillington said.
It has been almost a month since the NRL advised the Raiders they were one of six clubs mentioned in the ACC report, but Shillington said players and fans needed to remain patient and allow the investigation to take its course.
''You never want to be named in the first place with that report and the Sharkies are going through a tough time, we've never seen anything like it in the sport,'' Shillington said. ''Every player and every fan would like it to be wrapped up today, but it's such a huge process.'' with Jon Tuxworth