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Dank declares innocence

Cameron Noakes  February 11, 2013 1:00 PM

If they were going to point the finger they were gonna point the finger towards me
CONTROVERSIAL sports scientist Stephen Dank says he is an "obvious" scapegoat in Essendon's supplement scandal but any accusations are baseless.

Dank, Essendon's former performance scientist, parted ways with the club late in 2012 as the Bombers slid down the ladder under the weight of a series of soft-tissue injuries.

Since Essendon went to the AFL with serious concerns about the substances some of its players were taking, his name continues to be mentioned in media reports.

"I mean, obviously, because I sort of managed the supplement program, I mean, obviously the finger was going to, I guess, be pointed in my direction," Dank has told ABC television's 7:30.

"I've got no specific reasons why [people would accuse me], umm, but, you know, obviously because of my involvement - and that was obviously an area that I was managing - you know, if they were going to point the finger they were gonna point the finger towards me.

"I don't think, you know, you'd be sort of foolish to think that Essendon were the only [ones] that were looking at these sort of programs.  

"And I think when you think of what these players do on a week-to-week, and a year-to-year basis, I think you've got 18 clubs that are all very well coached and obviously all have a very good high-performance unit and they want cutting edge."

The full interview with Dank will be aired on Monday night.

Dank, who is known by his sobriquet 'the Pharmacist', has reportedly told sources he has nothing to hide.

A lawyer for Dank told News Limited the sports scientist was a "broken man".

Solicitor Greg Stanton said: "[Dank] stands, if I may use this phrase, as a sacrificial lamb on the altar of sport which this country worships and adores on a day-to-day basis."

Dank also worked at NRL club Manly, which has already thrown support behind him.

The Sea Eagles released a statement saying it "never had any concerns" during his time there between 2006 and 2010.

Dank was considered cutting edge at Manly and is said to have used bovine boosters that  involved calf's blood injections (legal under the anti-doping code if injected into muscle or tissue).

The club has stated he left at the end of 2010 due to budgets cuts.

"We always complied with all anti-doping protocols of the WADA Code and the NRL," the club's statement said.

Dank has also been a consultant for NRL clubs Penrith and Cronulla. It is reported Dank stopped being a consultant for Cronulla after he had a fallout with the club's doctor, David Givney.

Dank also had a brief stint at AFL club the Brisbane Lions before turning up at Essendon. Lions coach Michael Voss said on Friday it would be "negligent" of his club if it did not check that his work there was "above board".

If Essendon players have broken the rules set out by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, they could receive two-year bans. Club officials found guilty of administering banned substances (or using prohibitive methods) also face two-year bans.

As well as the Bombers, NRL clubs are being investigated by ASADA with information that up to five players may have taken banned substances.

AFL.com.au is not suggesting Dank provided banned substances (or used prohibited methods) to Essendon players.