Steve Dank, pictured watching Manly train. Photo: Tim ClaytonThe Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority wrote to former Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank posing questions about his relationship with three AFL clubs: the Bombers, Geelong and Gold Coast.
Geelong has emphatically denied the club employed Dank in any way, after being mentioned in an initial letter from ASADA to Dank’s lawyer.
The letter, an invitation for Dank to be interviewed by ASADA, said the anti-doping body planned to ask questions about his ”role and engagement” with Essendon, the Cats and Suns.
Two NRL clubs – Cronulla and Manly – were also named, despite six being listed in the Australian Crime Commission’s report into the role of drugs and organised crime in sport.
Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said Dank had never filled any role at the club and Gold Coast chief executive Travis Auld said Dank was employed briefly in a part-time role and had minimal contact with players.
It is understood the Cats have had two brief visits from auditors from Deloitte since being told their high-performance departments would be analysed, with no recent contact.
Auld said he expected his club to be contacted by ASADA and the AFL ”for a chat” at some point, given it had employed Dank, while Cook said the club had never worked with him.
”Stephen Dank was never employed by us and we never used his services,” he said.
All three AFL clubs employed Essendon’s suspended conditioning coach, Dean Robinson, with Geelong the only club not to also bring Dank on board. Robinson and Dank worked together at Manly.
The Brisbane Lions were not mentioned in the ASADA letter despite volunteering that the club had hired Dank in a ”brief and limited” consultancy role while establishing an altitude training program at the start of 2009.
The letter explained that the body was investigating allegations that ”athletes and support persons may have used prohibited substances including, but not limited to, growth hormone releasing peptides and human growth hormones. It is also alleged that some athletes and support persons may have engaged in prohibited methods,” the letter said.
It said Dank’s co-operation was voluntary, that it would be recorded and that he could have legal representation present but noted that ”any information or assistance provided by Mr Dank may be used as evidence in proceedings for an Anti-Doping Rule violation”.
Essendon requested ASADA and the AFL investigate its supplement program in February, before the ACC’s report was released.
The Bombers, who employed Robinson and Dank at the end of 2011, have since commissioned an external review of what chairman David Evans termed ”irregular practices”.
With Danny Weidler
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.