Two key figures in the ill-fated Essendon supplements program ignored clear protocols and sidestepped medical staff in their bid to give the team a competitive edge.
Representatives for the Bombers on Tuesday admitted in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court players were not provided with a safe work environment despite policies and protocols put in place to protect them.
WorkSafe Victoria says Essendon, at the end of 2011 and in 2012, gave players supplements without taking necessary steps to reduce potential health risks.
After the club finished 8th in the 2011 season, two key figures came on board to implement the new regime – fitness boss Dean Robinson, who brought well-known sports scientist Stephen Dank with him.
They began a supplements program, injecting players with vitamins, amino acids and peptides, the court has been told.
Senior players and club doctor Bruce Reid raised concerns over this in January 2012, so Mr Robinson wrote a policy giving Dr Reid the power to approve or deny the use of any substances administered to players.
Under the policy, Robinson and Dank were to provide Dr Reid with the scientific and common name of substances, clinical findings about side effects or documents guaranteeing they did not breach ASADA or WADA guidelines.
They gave him “mountains of paperwork” but it contained only information on some of the substances.
Other substances were given off-site without Dr Reid’s approval.
Prosecutor Ross Ray, QC, said poor record keeping meant it was almost impossible to know what each player was given, but it is believed they had some form of Thymosin and Tribulus Forte.
“Dank and Robinson administered these substances to players without approval from the medical team,” Mr Ray told the court.
Players were ordered not to talk about the program.
Barrister Gary Livermore, acting on behalf of Essendon, conceded Dank and Robinson didn’t get approval from Dr Reid for at least two of the supplements.
Mr Ray said the club should be fined $305,350 for each of the two charges they face – the maximum monetary penalty available to the Magistrate.
Essendon will be sentenced on January 28.