STEPHEN Dank’s moment of truth has finally arrived, with ASADA potentially preparing to issue charges against him over Essendon’s 2012 supplement program.
The sports scientist last night confirmed he’d recently received a show cause notice, an official signal of ASADA’s intent to take action against him.
The Daily Telegraph understands the potential infractions relate only to the supplement program Dank devised at Essendon two season ago. It’s believed the show cause letter makes no mention of his involvement at Cronulla in 2011, when players were allegedly subjected to an 11-week program of peptide injections, creams and tablets. Dank has denied giving any players banned substances.
It’s presumed ASADA intend to charge Dank on the basis that he was a support person at Essendon, who hired him on a full-time basis in late 2011. Dank’s status as a support person at Cronulla is less certain because the Sharks neither employed nor paid him.
The notice’s link to Essendon is likely to make the AFL club and its players extremely nervous. For the length of the yearlong ASADA investigation, Bombers officials have lived in hope that the grey nature of the peptide used in 2012 — AOD-9604 — might see their players escape charges. The fact Dank’s show cause letter relates to Essendon carries the natural imputation that ASADA believes banned substances were used at Windy Hill.
Make no mistake this has Judge Downes all over it. Remember he is running this show now on the ASADA end.He will act on credible questions
mdash; Richard Ings (@ringsau) March 13, 2014
But the absence of any mention of Cronulla in the show cause notice does not necessarily mean Sharks players can breathe easily. The Daily Telegraph this week revealed ASADA is preparing to issue four members of the 2011 squad with show cause notices. Evidence unearthed by an independent Sharks report a year ago indicates that while Dank was key to devising the program, he had little or no role in actually treating players.
The fate of the lone player to be suspended thus far, ex-Raiders winger Sandor Earl, also hangs largely on Dank. Earl is attempting to earn a substantial assistance discount on his four-year ban for use and trafficking of CJC-1295 by providing ASADA with information about Dank. Claims the show cause notice only relates to Dank’s activities at Essendon would make Earl less confident about his chances of winning a reduced ban.
Dank last night he would not “respond or react” to the show-cause notice. He’s instead ordered his legal team to take the fight to ASADA in court. ASADA rules permit him to challenge the show cause notice in both the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and Federal Court.
“We will also write to the attorney general and ask for an explanation about how this information — and information about four Cronulla players — has been leaked,” Dank said.
ASADA opted not to interview Dank as part of its investigations into Essendon and the NRL.
An ASADA spokesperson said: “ASADA is unable to discuss an ongoing investigation or operational matters associated with an investigation until such time as its legislation permits”.
Meanwhile, the NRL yesterday gave the Sharks and their suspended coach Shane Flanagan an extra 24 hours to indicate whether they would appeal punishments over the 2011 supplements program. Both parties have until 5pm today.