SECRETS REVEALED Documents show full extent of Essendon’s injecting scandal
ESSENDON’S highperformance coach Dean Robinson told an AFL player to lie about why he needed syringes.
While a coach at the Gold Coast Suns, “The Weapon” suggested a player should tell a hospital pharmacy that he needed to buy syringes for his girlfriend – rather than admit that they were for him to inject the banned drug CJC-1295.
“Understanding that stigma can be attached to the use of and obtaining syringes, I told (unnamed player) he may want to say that he was getting them for his girlfriend who had an endocrine disorder, as I had done this when getting the syringes for my wife for her medical needs,” Robinson told ASADA.
Transcripts of the AFL antidoping hearing reveal Robinson told investigators he had offered CJC-1295 to that player, as well as Campbell Brown and Josh Fraser, describing it to them as an “injectable whey protein”. PLAYERS told how they suffered hot flushes, numb backsides and intense pain during the Essendon injections regimen.
More than 40 players who were at the Bombers in 2012 were grilled by investigators about the drugs program, transcripts of the secret anti-doping tribunal hearings reveal.
Players detailed pain, mess and confusion, but in a blow to ASADA – and a hurdle for the WADA case – not one could recall being injected with Thymosin Beta 4.
Players’ lawyer David Grace, QC, in his closing address to the tribunal, detailed Brown and Fraser declined.
Robinson claimed sports scientist Stephen Dank had told him the drug was not banned and would help the player with an injury.
Robinson said he had been taking the drug himself, and so had demonstrated to the player how to self-administer.
He described how he gave the drug to the player in a cooler bag packed with dry ice when he came to see him at his home, where Dank had been staying at the time.
Robinson claimed both he and Dank had spoken to the player about the drug, saying he had been told the drug would cost him $800 and last six months if he injected 0.2ml twice a week.
ASADA’s lawyer Malcolm Holmes, QC, told the tribunal that Robinson’s claim that he had discussed the legality of this in person with the club doctor could not be true because the doctor had been working at a local hospital on the day Robinson said the discussion occurred. It is not clear whether ASADA will take any action over Robinson’s claims. every single player interview, concluding: “You can see how all over the place it was.’’
Supplements scheme architect Stephen Dank had told some he was injecting Thymosin, others AOD, others amino acids, some vitamins, melatonin and even “flu boosters’’, Mr Grace outlined.
But none of the players, whom The Courier-Mail has chosen not to name, mentioned the banned Thymosin Beta 4. Both the players’ lawyers and ASADA asserted the program was chaotic during the tribunal.
“HyperMED killed,” transcripts reveal one star as saying when quizzed about a visit to the South Yarra hyperbaric chamber for injections.
“It was like concrete going into your arse.” Another player remarked: “Received a hot flush after one of the injections, presumably the melatonin.’’ ASADA prosecutor Malcolm Holmes, QC, told the tribunal that aching bums were a common player ailment across the season.
“A lot of them came out with what they described as a corked buttock, and a lot of them couldn’t walk without pain as a result of those injections,” Mr Holmes declared on day 15 of the hearings.
In a meeting of the leadership group on January 16, 2012, when the regimen was in its infancy, one senior player let rip, reportedly saying: “What the hell’s this new supplement program that we’re doing? What is it? This injection (expletive), I don’t like it. Where’s it coming from?”
“Dank’s office was disorganised. His office was a mess,” another club leader said.
“If Dank missed you and didn’t come and see you then you basically didn’t get one,” a teammate declared.
Most players admitted having no idea what drugs were being administered to them.
“When I got them you thought they were just vitamin injections to help you with recovery,” said one player.
“He (Dank) would say, ‘Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it helps recovery’,” another teammate said.
The most injections a player reported to ASADA as having was 23 – either in the stomach or the buttock.
“Dank would pull me into his office at times. If I was feeling a bit off I would go and ask for one in the context of talking about vitamins. He would pour from a brown bottle, measure it, pinch you and put it in,” one player said.
Dank did not explain what the substance was, added the player, who guessed he was receiving vitamin B.
“I wouldn’t know, it was an assumption.’’
A teammate said: “Danksy would say, ‘Come and get your vitamins. Gives your immune system a boost’.”
Another player told investigators about an unexpected bonus from the substances that were being injected into his stomach – a gleaming midwinter suntan.