League: Warriors head trainer shocked by doping claims

By Steve Deane

Carl Jennings. Photo / Doug Sherring
Carl Jennings. Photo / Doug Sherring

In 17 years as a professional conditioning coach, Warriors head trainer Carl Jennings has seen no evidence of institutionalised doping in rugby league.

Jennings, a former British shotput champion, said no player he had been involved with had ever failed a test for performance enhancing drugs. The idea that doping at some clubs could be systematic was beyond belief.

"I can't believe that. I literally can't believe that," Jennings said.

"The NRL, from my experience, is a really nurturing, positive, trusting environment. So when things like this pop up it is really concerning."

The Warriors have not been implicated in the doping investigation that has shocked Australian sport. However Penrith and Canberra - clubs Jennings and head coach Matthew Elliott have previously worked at - are among the six NRL clubs now under investigation by USADA following an Australian Crime Commission investigation that uncovered links between organised crime and doping.

Australian media yesterday reported that all six clubs under investigation have links to biochemist Stephen Dank, the former head of the sports science programme at Essendon Bombers AFL club.

Dank has appeared on Australian television denying any wrongdoing.

Jennings said he had received no contact from any investigators, and had no idea what investigators were hoping to uncover.

"I'm in the dark as much as you are. Nobody from USADA has spoken to me, nobody from the crime commission has spoken to me. If they do I'll be completely co-operative. It's very concerning because we love our sport and love what we do and we also love the players that we coach.

"Nobody really knows what is going on. All I can say is that it is 110 per cent fact that the programmes we have are within the rules of the game. We work players hard, but we haven't done anything untoward."

The Warriors used supplements supplied by club sponsor BSC, a company Jennings has had a relationship with for 12 years.

"They are totally reputable. They have a fantastic manufacturing process and we trust them implicitly."

The supplements contained amino acids and protein powders - legal substances that aided recovery.

Jennings said he had no little or no knowledge of peptides - the new generation synthetic hormones that are the main focus of ASADA's investigations.

"I'll leave chemistry to the chemists," he said. "It's something I don't know much about
and wouldn't spend time learning about because it can't play a part in your programme."

- NZ Herald

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