Daniel Chick’s explosive claims about a toxic illicit drug culture when West Coast won the 2006 AFL premiership has sparked a furious backlash.
Chick told the Herald Sun that he and former teammates Daniel Kerr and Ben Cousins took massive doses of asthma drug prednisone in a pattern experts describe as bizarre and inappropriate.
He added in Thursday’s report that a club staffer hid certain players from drug testers, that a former Eagles figure dished out sedatives in bulk to players and that the use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine were widespread in the squad.
Chick also said some players would snort crushed Xanax and take Valium with vodka to relax on flights to and from Perth.
The timing could not be worse for the Eagles, given they are only two days away from playing Hawthorn in the grand final.
They said in a statement they were “extremely disappointed by the content, timing and publication of some unsubstantiated claims”.
“The club and its medical staff are deeply offended by these allegations and will discuss internally an appropriate course of action.
“When the club faced some challenges with its playing group a decade ago, it took steps to address those issues.
“It voluntarily undertook its own investigation, the AFL also initiated an independent investigation (by Victorian Supreme Court Judge Bill Gillard) and neither revealed the issues and allegations raised by Daniel in this story, all of which are strongly refuted.
“The club is now recognised as a leader in the area of player welfare and integrity in the country.
“Our current playing group and coaching staff will not be distracted as they embark on the challenge of winning the club’s fourth premiership at the MCG on Saturday.”
Chick flew from Perth to Melbourne on Thursday, only a couple of hours separating him from the Eagles also travelling east.
Kerr, 2006 Norm Smith Medallist Andrew Embley and fellow former Eagle Karl Langdon all blasted Chick for his allegations.
“I couldn’t trust him (Chick) as far as I could kick him and, looking at him, I don’t think that would be very far,” Langdon told 3AW.
“I believe there’s a lot of lying going on in that particular article I’ve read.”
Embley said he doubted any 2006 teammate would agree with Chick’s comments.
He added then-coach John Worsfold had not turned a blind eye to the illicit drug use by players at the time.
“I know for a fact that certain players looked Woosha in the eye and said, ‘Listen, they’re just rumours’,” Embley told SEN radio.
“I don’t think the club would be in the position they are at the moment if it wasn’t for Woosha’s leadership.”
Embley said he could not think of a better person to coach Essendon than Worsfold, who is the favourite for the job.
Kerr denied Chick’s claim that he abused prednisone.
“He is just surmising that people were doing what he was doing, which was just wrong,” Kerr told WAtoday.