A former AFL rookie who took part in Essendon’s catastrophic supplements program has spoken to the ABC in detail about his battle with the club to find out what exactly he was injected with.
Hal Hunter was 18 when he was drafted by Essendon in December 2011, and took part in the program during the 2012 season.
He was delisted in September 2013, following a series of injuries, and now no longer plays football.
“They’ve been fairly disrespectful,” Hunter told the ABC’s Four Corners about the club.
“They’ve treated me like I was the youngest player, I was a rookie, I wasn’t important and I’m still not important. They’re treating it like it’s an issue that’s just going to go away.”
In 2014 he approached the club, requesting details of the supplements he was given and the injections he received, but Essendon refused to tell him.
“There’s been lots and lots of delays. They seriously questioned why I needed them, what my motives were. They claimed I was a disgruntled ex-employee,” Hunter said.
“They’ve tried to brush me off, like I’m not important. It’s been almost a year-and-a-half and I still don’t have any answers to the questions I’m asking. And I’m no closer to finding out what I was given.”
After Hunter and his legal team gave notice to Essendon and the AFL that they were considering launching legal action, the club produced Hunter’s medical records in June 2015, followed two months later by incomplete records of some of the supplements he had been given.
Last week, having previously assured a judge they had handed over all the documents in their possession relating to Hunter, the club produced a further set of documents.
But these shed no light on what exactly he was injected with.
Hunter said he knew some of the pills he was given at the club, but had no idea what he was injected with off-site, at a Melbourne clinic called HyperMED.
As revealed on Four Corners, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) believed he may have been injected with an equine supplement, without having given formal consent for this to happen.
“My understanding is that according to the evidence of one of the players, they had at some point seen a label on a jar which said: ‘for equine use only’,” ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt said.
Hunter has gone to court to try and force the club to hand over all its documents relating to the supplements and injections he was given.
In response, Essendon Football Club has pursued Hunter for costs.
– Quentin McDermott, Peter Cronau and Mario Christodoulou