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Warriors at ease with Aussie drug probe

By David Skipwith

Published: 5:31PM Thursday February 14, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The NZ Warriors are preparing for their second pre-season trial match against Penrith, without any major concerns about the drugs and corruption probe that has engulfed the NRL over the past week.
 
With the Warriors not among the six NRL clubs implicated in the Australian Crime Commission's report, coach Matthew Elliott is at ease with their position and is adamant the club's sports science and dietary supplementation programmes are focussed on promoting healthy lifestyles for their players, and not utilised as part of any high-performance plans.
 
"It's certainly not an issue here for the Warriors and our approach to getting the players ready doesn't even touch in those realms, so we feel very comfortable," Elliott explained to ONE Sport today.
 
"We use altitude training, and our supplementation programme is probably a little bit alternative in the fact that we're really focussed on health, rather than high performance.
 
"Our sponsor [BSc] is approved by the NRL and, again, they're going down the organic route themselves, so players aren't consuming additives or preservatives. I'm so pedantic in that area, we wouldn't allow them to put other stuff into their bodies, that's for sure."
 
Warriors strength and conditioning trainer Carl Jennings says the clubs reliance on supplements over the off-season has been minimal and greater importance was placed on educating the players further about improved dietary practices.
 
"The whole offseason has been educating the players on eating correct foods, so supplementation in some respects hasn't really played any part in our offseason so far," Jennings explained.
 
Contrary to what has been portrayed in the media over the past week, Jennings insists the NRL already had strong anti-doping initiatives in place and felt there was little left to chance in their efforts to ensure the game remains clean.
 
"The one thing we do have in our sport, which is fantastic, is co-operation with our governing body and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

"We have random testing, urine and blood, and we implement in-house testing for recreational drugs. So the NRL takes this very, very seriously as far as keeping drugs out of our sport.
 
"At the Warriors, we have an in-house drug-testing committee.It's actually put together separate from us in some respects, so we have to submit a certain number of in-house drug tests per year."   
 
"The sport itself has been really pro-active for a number of years, so that's why the situation recently has been really surprising to me."

Small percentage involved
 
Elliott believes all of Australia's sporting codes will be better off once the ACC probe reveals specifics of their investigation and is adamant the vast majority of people involved in rugby league will be cleared of any wrong doing.
 
"Certainly, we'd like them to be a little more specific, because obviously people are talking about this scandal and my understanding of it at this point is that it is just talking about a really small amount of people that have made bad decisions."

During his years spent coaching in Britain with Bradford, and in the NRL with Canberra and Penrith before arriving in New Zealand, Elliott recalls instances where rumours and innuendo about players using performance-enhancing drugs circled, but says it has never been a widespread issue.
 
"I think everyone has their suspicions occasionally when players bubble up that were perhaps not so physically adept and in a short period of time, but I can hardly think of any cases of that in recent times.
 
"All the players are tested so often, so I've either got my head in the sand and I don't know what's going on, or this is a massive beat-up."
 
Keep up with all the action from the Warriors trial match against the Penrith Panthers at Waikato Stadium with our live updates here at http://onenews.co.nz , from 4pm Saturday.