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Dank has worked with clubs since '90s

Date

David Long

Stephen Dank.

Stephen Dank. Photo: Tim Clayton

STEPHEN DANK has had involvement with NRL clubs for more than 20 years, says Warriors coach Matt Elliott.

Elliott says he has found himself embroiled in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs because he had a couple of meetings with Dank when coaching Penrith in 2011.

Fairfax Media revealed on Thursday that the Panthers, Newcastle, Canberra, Cowboys, Manly and Cronulla have reportedly been told by ASADA that the reason they are being investigated is because of their links with Dank. The association with the Panthers came from meetings between Dank and Elliott. But Elliott says there were no conversations about performance-enhancing drugs.

''I have known Danksy for years, when I was playing he was involved in St George … we got hypoxic units, the altitude thing where you put a mask on,'' Elliott, who played with the Dragons from 1989 to 1992, said on Thursday.

''He helped with the installation of that and put some connections in that allowed us to use oxygen from them as well. My thoughts on him as an individual are that he was pretty helpful.

''You can get a lie detector if you like, but there was no conversation about injecting players and putting stuff into them, that's for sure.''

With the focus on Dank, he is being seen as a key figure in this saga. Elliott was asked by Fairfax Media if he felt it was unfair that Dank has been portrayed as the bad guy.

''I have no idea about that,'' Elliott said. ''As I say, I have known him for a long time but I wouldn't say we'd hung around together. I spoke to him a couple of times about the utilisation of those systems, but I honestly hope not.''

Elliott said he was surprised and disappointed to find himself being dragged into the story and felt that when it broke last week, it was something about nothing.

''Initially I was unfazed by it … I either had my head in the sand or has it been going on right under my nose? I have been around footy players for a long time and my first indication of it was that it's a beat-up, some sort of legal stunt, I'm not sure.

''Then I learnt today that I've got my own name stuck in the paper because I had a meeting with a certain individual. I don't think anyone likes having that sort of speculation heading your way.

''I am not going to get worried about it or have a guilty conscience about something that I am not only not involved in, but at the other end of the spectrum as far as [what] I believe players should be doing with supplementation.

''What we've heard about is a thing called peptides, which I'm not really au fait with. I am more down the health route … in the press statement it was stuff about organised crime being involved, match fixing and this systemic use of performance-enhancing drugs.

''Well, I tell you what, if that's the case, I really need to lift my eyes up a bit and have a look around.''

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