Lack of drug probe info angers Warriors coach
Warriors coach Matt Elliott is incensed at the lack of information he has been given about the Australian Crime Commission's report into drug use and corruption in sport.
Elliott has coached two of the six NRL clubs mentioned in the report - the Canberra Raiders (2002-06) and most recently the Penrith Panthers (2007-2011).
Those clubs, along with the North Queensland Cowboys, Manly Sea Eagles, Cronulla Sharks and Newcastle Knights have come forward to admit they are being investigated.
But Elliott is struggling to comprehend the inquiry because he has been given no details about what is being looked at.
"This is nearly a week now and I don't want to sound stupid but I'm finding it hard to take this seriously, because why wouldn't they just come out and let us know what they're talking about," Elliott said.
"They just came out with this grandiose public announcement with the crime commission involved and everything. They wouldn't come out without anything behind them, then all of a sudden, nothing.
"They've just come out and made a whole lot of wide sweeping statements but I've got absolutely no idea what they're talking about."
Asked if he knew of any dodgy goings-on in his most recent role at the Panthers, Elliott said: "I understand where the enquiry's coming from. We bought some altitude units from one of the people who has certainly been spoken about a lot.
"But I feel completely at ease, that, as an organisation anyway, we were certainly not dabbling in that area. You can never mandate that on what individuals would do but I'd be very surprised if Penrith have an issue, that's for sure, certainly not a widespread one."
The six clubs were to be briefed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority yesterday, though those meetings were set to be light on specific information.
"At first you sort of feel guilty," Elliott said, "and then you go 'what am I feeling guilty about?' I'm involved in a sport that, really, I've found has changed so many people's lives for the better and made a huge difference. You're asking me questions about it; it's almost like you know what's going on. So people have that preconceived idea.
"It might come out and it might well be the case that 'how could I have missed all that?' But I don't know. I've always had a fairly good relationship with the players and the people around the sport.
"Even though I was an assistant [at the Sydney Roosters] last year, I've been involved in the NRL for a long time now, since 2001. So I'm just scratching my head ... I'm finding it difficult to absorb, to be honest with you."
Elliott said in all sports some people were certain to push the boundaries with performance enhancing drugs but it was the insinuation of match fixing that made him "crook".
"For me, that's huge. Because people, I believe mistakenly, put something in their arm to think that'll make them play better. It might do that in the short term but it's never going to be any good for their health and that sort of stuff."
Elliott said at the Warriors the players were being sent down the completely opposite path and being coached to eat clean and unprocessed food.
Meanwhile, after giving lots of young players a chance in the first trial match against the Gold Coast Titans last weekend, Elliott, as planned, has recalled his experienced heads for the Warriors' second trial match, against the Panthers in Hamilton on Saturday.
Apart from the injured Nathan Friend, Jerome Ropati, Russell Packer and Sione Lousi, as well as Todd Lowrie - who has returned home following the death of his grandfather - the Warriors' best will be on show.
HOW THEY LINE UP
Warriors: Kevin Locke, Bill Tupou, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Ben Matulino, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering (c), Feleti Mateo.
Interchange: Dominique Peyroux, Jacob Lillyman, Pita Godinet, Alehana Mara, Ngani Laumape, Carlos Tuimavave, Sam Lousi, Sebastine Ikahihifo, John Palavi, Glen Fisiiahi, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Steve Rapira, Charlie Gubb.