Manly Sea Eagles vindicated by NRL findings

BEN HORNE
Last updated 11:14 21/12/2013

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Having been cleared of any wrongdoing by the NRL in relation to drugs in sport scandal, Manly say their overwhelming feeling isn't vindication - but rather sorrow for the sad state of affairs gripping Cronulla.

The head of the Sea Eagles' supplement program, strength and conditioning coach Don Singe, said it was obvious that a club's first priority was to look after its players.

However, he was reluctant to judge the Sharks for their alleged indiscretions.

Manly were one of six clubs who were the focus of the drugs in sport investigation, and like the Sharks, were linked to past dealings with sports scientist Stephen Dank and supplement salesman Darren Hibbert.

The Sea Eagles maintained their innocence throughout the saga, with Singe vigorously defending his reputation.

The NRL's confirmation on Tuesday that the Sharks are the only club in their sights, has allowed Singe and the rest of Manly's staff to get on with business.

Former Cronulla strength and conditioner Trent Elkin's provisional de-registration by the NRL for failing in his duty of care during 2011, highlights the level of trust players put into those in charge of supplement programs.

Singe said the Sea Eagles have always maintained a transparent and diligent approach to their football department, under former coach Des Hasler and current boss Geoff Toovey.

"It's very simple. You look after the men. You look after their welfare, you have a duty of care and you use commonsense," he said.

"At this club, as we always said, there's been a very, very rigorous process to supplementation of which I've always been in charge of.

"I think the way that the penalties have come about is because of governance and a lack of perhaps control in that area, of which I've always been confident we had great governance and great control.

"I don't think it's vindication (for Manly), because I think it's still a sad state of affairs for the game.

"We certainly wouldn't wish any penalties upon anyone, it's a very difficult and complex situation."

Elkin has been accused by the NRL of going behind the back of Cronulla's then doctor David Givney to inject players with supplements.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has been provisionally sanctioned for failing to properly supervise the supplement program and take necessary action to stop it.

The NRL determined Cronulla had breached the game's code of conduct due to poor governance, but the Sharks have declared they will fight all charges.

Singe didn't wish to comment on Cronulla's predicament, but said such alleged happenings couldn't happen at Manly.

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"We have a very, very transparent culture in the coaching crew," he said.

"Both coaches (Hasler and Toovey) have always been very demanding of excellence. Both coaches are very hard workers, not a lot gets past them and we don't ever try to get past them.

"We've always had a very strict process where our medical team is involved, that includes the physiotherapist and the doctor, and it's just quite simple - if something doesn't look right or if somebody doesn't want to talk to somebody about a particular supplement then the red flag goes up."

- AAP

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