Pies 'mundane', claims Buckley

Ball boys: Nathan Buckley with Matthew Lappin at Collingwood’s training session on Tuesday.
Ball boys: Nathan Buckley with Matthew Lappin at Collingwood’s training session on Tuesday.

COLLINGWOOD coach Nathan Buckley says his club focuses on other ''mundane'' areas to find an advantage, rather than ''living in the grey area'' of substances that could be on the edge of being illegal.

Buckley addressed the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in the AFL when he faced the media on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Stephen Dank - the man at the centre of the Essendon drug crises - said supporters would be foolish to think that every club was not ''pushing the line''.

Buckley said he met with the Pies' director of sports science, David Buttifant, on Tuesday to review a log of substances dating to 2002.

''We take TGA-approved substances, and proteins and carbohydrates … that are well-recognised brands that have all got the rubber stamp,'' he said.

''We are not a club that lives in the grey area. We believe that there is plenty of one-percenters to be found in things that are in our control and things that are quite mundane.''

Dank is the former sports scientist at Essendon whose practices are being scrutinised as part of an investigation into whether the Bombers had ''multiple'' players who potentially used performance-enhancing drugs. ''I don't think, you know, you'd be sort of foolish to think that Essendon were the only [club] that were looking at these sort of programs,'' Dank said in an interview on ABC TV.

''And I think when you think of what these players do on a week-to-week and a year-to-year basis, I think you've got 18 clubs that are all very well coached and obviously all have a very good high-performance unit and they want cutting edge.''

One AFL club contacted by Fairfax Media on Tuesday said Dank's statement was misleading, saying their club chose to focus more of its energies into gaining an edge - however minuscule - through strategic and training means, rather than pushing the envelope to the extreme with supplement use.

But two other clubs contacted by Fairfax Media said they could understand what Dank meant.

''You need to be looking at every area you can, if only to make sure you are keeping up with everyone else - you have to play on that edge to a certain degree,'' one football department official said. ''But you just can't afford to take any risks whatsoever.''

Buckley said he believed the game's reputation was suffering because of the lack of detail in the Australian Crime Commission's allegations that one player from one AFL club had potentially used banned drugs, on top of the unproven allegations against Essendon.

Buckley said he was ''very'' confident that the single player from one club under investigation was not on the Magpies' list. He said he felt for Bombers coach James Hird: ''I can't imagine how he would feel.''

After revealing he had never been exposed to performance-enhancing drugs at any time during his career as a player or coach, Buckley called for more specific information about the drug allegations contained in the ACC report, which he believed were tarnishing the reputations of players, coaches and other officials.

This story Pies 'mundane', claims Buckley first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.