Former West Coast star Daniel Chick has revealed that a toxic culture of illicit drug use was rife within the Eagles’ 2006 AFL premiership-winning team.
The revelations emerged just three days before the AFL grand final, the Eagles’ first since winning the flag nine years ago after beating the Sydney Swans by a single point.
Chick claimed in the Herald Sun on Thursday 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 revealed in the 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.
Prednisone use is banned under anti-doping rules, unless cleared by a special ASADA medical committee. Chick said Cousins, Kerr, and himself, who were asthmatic, had this approval.
However, he would only ever take the drug during the season, on game days, and with other stimulants.
“I couldn’t even sit still on the bench,” Chick said.
“I started taking the 20mgs and 5mgs tablets on game day but then it escalated up to 40 to 50mgs quickly.
“It smashes your system. I’ve since read a lot about it, we didn’t know what was done to us. You feel bulletproof basically.
“Even the next day or two you wouldn’t feel knocks but by Wednesday you flatten out and it is hard to get going again. Once you are in that cycle it was like an addiction.”
Chick said he’d gone public with the story as he wanted senior figures to be made more accountable for their players’ health.
“What went on at West Coast is due to lack of leadership from the top down,” he said.
“Players’ health should be more important than protecting the brand … I don’t think the premiership is tainted but it came at too high a price.”