Bendigo Football Club general manager Graham Pratt says he isn’t aware of Essendon having given any supplements to the Gold’s VFL-listed players.
Essendon is under investigation by the AFL after possibly giving inappropriate supplements to its players last year.
The Gold’s 10-year alignment with the Bombers ended after last season, with Pratt unaware of any supplements given by Essendon to the VFL players in 2012.
“Not that I’m aware, certainly none during the week because there was no interaction,” he said.
“If it was happening it wouldn’t be happening an hour-and-a-half before a game, that’s really the only time there was interaction between the Essendon fitness staff and our blokes. Our blokes probably wouldn’t even be aware what supplements were being utilised (at Essendon).”
Yesterday Essendon called a press conference after it asked the AFL to investigate its fitness program due to information it had received in the previous 48 hours.
Bombers chairman David Evans said the club wanted to protect its integrity by asking for an investigation, which was also being run by the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
Former Essendon sports science guru Stephen Dank was allegedly at the centre of the controversy.
Pratt said Dank wasn’t involved with the Gold.
Bendigo was assisted by two of the Bombers’ fitness staff, Jesse Campisi and Jamin Heppell, on game days last season.
“All that happened there is they’d organise stuff and one of them would do the pre-game warm-ups, so it was pretty well divorced,” Pratt said.
The only nutrition requirements Essendon had of the Gold was providing bread, jam and honey on match days.
“That was one of the demands that Essendon put on us was for all the players to be able to access bread, jam and honey along with the normal Powerades and water they’d have,” Pratt said.
“Then after the game it was Powerade, water and soft drinks and usually Subway.”
It has been reported Essendon players were asked to sign waivers before taking the supplements.
“None of our players were asked to do that,” Pratt said. “They would have had to come to us and say ‘are you OK with signing this’, and I guess we would have asked the question ‘why would they have to do that?’”
Pratt also said the Gold’s Bendigo-based players weren’t given specific fitness programs by Essendon last season.
“The only thing at the start of the season (then coach) Hayden Skipworth shared with us that the Essendon focus would be building the players’ strength up,” he said.
“Our stuff was probably more built around weights than it had been historically, but there was nothing that I’m aware of that was specifically sent to us in terms of what we needed to do, other than ‘this is what we’re trying to do with our group and how we want to play, so do the same’.”
The Gold’s players were all educated to the same level as AFL players on drug issues, Pratt said.