AFL cleared us over Dank links: Geelong

Geelong admit they ordered a drug from a company associated with banned sports scientist Stephen Dank.

But the AFL club is adamant that the substance is legal and it has done nothing wrong.

The club had a connection to Dank via their former high-performance manager Dean Robinson, who was at Geelong for much of their 2007/2011 premiership era.

The Cats said the AFL and ASADA had investigated the club thoroughly after the Essendon supplements scandal broke two years ago and there was no case to answer.

After Robinson left Geelong, he went to Essendon in a similar role and was there when Dank ran the controversial supplements regime at the club.

In 2007, Geelong used a company with links to Dank to source the substance Actovegin, saying it was a one-off order.

German specialist Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfarth used Actovegin to help Cats player Max Rooke overcome a serious hamstring injury that year.

“The club sourced Actovegin from a company that was connected to Dank,” the Cats said in a statement.

“These facts were all made known to the AFL and ASADA in 2013 during their investigation.

“Dank had no connection with our players in this process.”

The Herald Sun reported on Monday that the Essendon AFL anti-doping tribunal hearing was told that while at Geelong, Robinson “used the services” of Dank.

“When the Essendon drugs issues were unearthed in February 2013, there was an immediate link to our club due to the fact that Dean Robinson had worked for both Geelong and Essendon,” Geelong said.

“In the ensuing months we were investigated by the AFL and ASADA and we handed over all documentation regarding our fitness and medical dealings during that period.

“We were able to supply authorities with full and thorough record keeping of our practices.

“The AFL and ASADA found our club had acted appropriately and had no case to answer.

“This is indisputable and the AFL has again re-affirmed this fact today in a statement.”

Geelong also said in 2008 or 2009, Dank’s professional services were recommended to the club, but they decided against putting him on the books.

“At no time did Dank have a position with our club,” the club said.

Transcripts from the Essendon hearing quote a March, 2010 email from Neil Balme, who was then Geelong’s football manager and now has the same role at Collingwood.

Balme’s email to a Geelong employee mentions Dank and Robinson.

“I’ve spoken to Dean … and he will fix this,” Balme is quoted as saying.

“If you need to talk to the creditor, tell them that their man Steve Dank knows all about what should be charged, etc.”

The anti-doping tribunal was told that Balme was referring to an invoice from a company controlled by Dr Ijaz Khan, an associate of Dank.

ASADA lawyer Malcolm Holmes QC told the tribunal that Robinson worked with Dank at several AFL and NRL clubs.

The pair’s work at Essendon in 2012 led to the supplements saga that continues to plague the club.

The AFL anti-doping tribunal ruled in favour of 34 current and past Essendon players, but WADA is appealing that finding.

Dank is also appealing against his life ban handed out from the same tribunal.

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