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Drug cheats have telltale signs: Akermanis

Outspoken Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis says you can tell a drug cheat by his 'beautiful skin' - ${keywords}
Outspoken Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis says you can tell a drug cheat by his 'beautiful skin'
THERE are ways for observers to identify drug-cheating players, says outspoken Brownlow medallist Jason Akermanis.

The outspoken Brownlow medallist – who wrote a controversial newspaper column in 2007 in which he claimed an opposition player was using performance-enhancing drugs (but later admitted he was mistaken) - says he becomes suspicious of older, fringe players who make quantum leaps in athletic prowess and performance.

"There's lots of things that give them away," Akermanis told SEN on Monday morning.

"Their skin, for one – you can always tell if they've got beautiful, beautiful skin (that) always seems supple.

"Their size – as you got bigger it actually became harder to run, (but) all of a sudden these blokes have gotten three, four, five kilos bigger and are running better than they should.

"There's other things you can certainly question.

"When (they) play a breakout season, you think, 'Oh, that's interesting.' And then they're getting older and playing even better, you think, 'This is a bit strange.'

"That's not to say all the good players are all of a sudden under suspicion.

"But there are things, particularly with fringe players, that I always look at because (for) fringe players it's worth their while in their minds to take the risk to go the drug (and) get what they can to try and get an extra three, four, five years in their career if they could. That's a lot of money to them and they will take that risk."

Akermanis also defended his former club Brisbane Lions for using intravenous drips to rehydrate at half-time and between matches in 2007. The practice was subsequently banned for its unsightliness.

Akermanis said Lions players asked a lot of questions before agreeing to subject themselves to the procedure.

"The drips were totally legal," he said. "It's probably the best medical advance I've seen for a long time because it took all the injury rates to nothing in the second half.

"The AFL then said, 'This is bad for the image of the game.' What a load of crap. I mean, it's at half-time, no one's seeing it, it's done by absolute professionals (and) it was for the best health of our players …

"But then you get to the other side, the darker side. What are they injecting? Where are they getting it from? Is it underworld figures? is it shady characters?"