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Roosters and Penrith go on the front foot

In a week where the ASADA investigation took yet another twist, the Sydney Roosters and Penrith jumped on the front foot on Friday to defend the names of their clubs.
Roosters and Penrith go on the front foot
by AAP

By Ian McCullough and Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Sept 27 AAP - In a week where the ASADA investigation took yet another twist, the Sydney Roosters and Penrith jumped on the front foot on Friday to defend the names of their clubs.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson questioned the timing of a report linking members of his squad with performance-enhancing drugs just 48 hours before the NRL preliminary final against Newcastle.

Later on Friday, Panthers Group CEO Warren Wilson hit back at claims from disgraced former Penrith winger Sandor Earl that an official from the club was behind his first meeting with controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank.

Earl was last month issued an infraction notice, having admitted to the use and trafficking of banned substance CJC-1295.

In a paid interview with the Nine Network, Earl alleged Panthers' strength and conditioning staff Matt Ryan and Carl Jennings told the players in 2011 that Dank was "consulting with the club ... and helping with our programs".

Fairfax Media reported on Thursday that the Roosters sacked a company hired at the end of last year to help finetune detox diets and that blood records of six players ended up on the mobile phone of an organised crime figure.

The decision to stop using Nubodi came after the players, including Boyd Cordner, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Sam Moa, returned blood test results with elevated readings for Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

The trio were later re-tested by the club and did not return high levels of HGH and there's no suggestion they acted improperly.

However, Robinson said the report had unsettled his players.

"It wasn't what we needed yesterday, but it is what it is. We've dealt with it, talked about it and know what's required tomorrow night," Robinson said.

"Having Boyd, Sam and Roger on the front of the paper linked with performance-enhancing drugs was bitterly disappointing.

"These are upstanding young men and they are under our control. But they were very strong.

"But it's hard for people's families to see them on the front page."

Robinson insisted the club have nothing to hide and expects no action from the NRL or ASADA.

"We've been open and honest with the NRL and they've come out in support of us," he said.

Wilson maintained that Dank was "never a paid employee or consultant of the club".

"From what I've been able to find out, he came up in late 2010 and early 2011 and was pushing Hypoxi - which is oxygen training equipment," he said.

"The club rejected it.

"... Did he have an official role at the club? No.

"It's already been on the record that the methodology (of Dank) was to either get an official role with a club and, if that wasn't successful, then he made contact with individuals."

Wilson admitted ASADA had requested an interview with Ryan, but labelled Earl's recollection of events as mere opinion.

"That's what Sandor said last night, but is that in fact what happened? That's one person's opinion," he said.

"... I had a conversation with him (Ryan) and, at the request of ASADA, there's a meeting set up.

"... I feel for Matt and I hope he has done nothing wrong. And he tells me he's done nothing wrong.

"Until that's proven otherwise, he has the benefit of the presumption of innocence."

Wilson rejected the suggestion the club had failed Earl, and wouldn't comment on potential legal action against the 24-year-old.


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