THE FURORE surrounding the relationship between Essendon coach James Hird and sports scientist Stephen Dank has been further inflamed after details of text message conversations allegedly conducted between the two were aired on The ABC's 7.30.
In the texts, which have not been verified by AFL.com.au, Dank refers to intravenous, or "IV", treatments - which could be banned under World Anti-Doping Agency and AFL rules.
On March 9, they reportedly had the following exchange:
Hird: "Good work today mate, the boys were up and about, we have a lot to work with.
Dank: "IVs start next week and Thymosin with Uniquinon. We will start to see some real effects.
Then between March 27-28:
Dank: "That is the IV list that will be completed by Wednesday night.
Hird: "Good work mate, (name deleted) rang me tonight and said how good he felt after he saw you."
On April 3, Dank detailed more substances:
"We have cerebrolysin, we will re-oxygenate and re-circulate the brain. We will also be getting Solcoseryl."
Also in April:
Dank: "All IV and injections completed.
Hird: "Great work mate, it would be a great effort to have them feeling fresh for Anzac Day."
On May 11, Dank talks about an unspecified project.
"financials ready for you and David for AOD project. These financials cover all possible revenue streams, where the project applies."
Former ASADA chairman Richard Ings said the Bombers could be in trouble if the players were given intravenous treatments.
"(They) are somewhat troubling, particularly the discussion about intravenous use of substances," Ingsa said.
"We need to understand there are banned substances, but there are also banned methods.
"The use of intravenous injections could be potentially such a banned method."
Earlier on Thursday, Essendon chairman David Evans said fresh allegations against his club, including the bombshell claim that Hird had injected a WADA-blacklisted drug, were "extremely serious and very distressing".
The Bombers are already the subject of an ASADA investigation into their 2012 supplements program, and will soon be made aware of the findings of a Ziggy Switkowski review they commissioned.
"I want to repeat that these allegations are very serious, and we want the ASADA investigation and its outcomes to be done as quickly as possible to assist us in making decisions," Evans said in a statement released on Thursday morning.
"On behalf of the board I want to make it clear that if any person at our club has failed in their duty of care to the players then we will make the appropriate decisions on behalf of the Essendon Football Club."
"The board will not be making a decision about these allegations today," Evans told a hastily-arranged media conference shortly afterwards.
"James Hird is a person of great respect at this club ... the board will not be making decisions about the next steps until the processes of the review and the investigation take their course."
Hird arrived at Windy Hill on Thursday morning vowing to clear his name.
The Essendon coach drove in with club doctor Bruce Reid, and faced a barrage of questions from a large media pack.
"It's obviously very upsetting for the players," Hird said.
"I just can't wait to get in and talk to ASADA and the AFL and once I've got in and spoken to ASADA and the AFL, I can't wait to clear my name."
Hird has been accused of injecting a WADA blacklisted drug, while his players were given an extract from pig's brain, according to a Fairfax Media report.
Dank, the sports scientist who ran the club's supplement program, said he injected Hird with hexarelin, which the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned in 2004, the report said.
He also told Fairfax that before and during the 2012 season, Essendon players were given the anti-obesity drug AOD9604.
Fairfax Media says information gathered by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) corroborates Dank's claims.
Dank also said he gave players an extract from pig's brain, which is used to treat Alzheimer's disease, the first milk from a mother cow and a bark extract.
In a statement Hird said: "These claims are horrifying to me, and are being made by a person or people who appear determined to destroy my reputation.
"I have at all times fully adhered to, and promoted the WADA code and the AFL rules, and the code of ethics of the Essendon Football Club."
Dank stressed that nothing he gave to the players was prohibited and said the supplements were safe despite not being listed as approved by regulators.
Former ASADA chief Richard Ings said that Hird's case was pretty straightforward as far as the regulator is concerned.
"The use of illegal substances is banned for players but not for coaches," Ings told SEN radio on Thursday morning.
He said coaches were not permitted to provide or inject illegal substances to their players, but there was no prohibition on personal use by coaches under both the WADA and AFL anti-doping policies.
"The issue of use of a performance enhancing drug by a coach doesn't tick off any box, so it's not an issue for ASADA. But it is potentially a very serious issue for the AFL's code of conduct for coaches and players."