Bound for Hull Kingston Rovers: the English club has signed the Knights’ Neville Costigan. Photo: Jonathan CarrollHull Kingston Rovers officials have moved to distance the club from any involvement with Stephen Dank amid speculation the man at the centre of the NRL and AFL’s doping investigations may be heading to England to help with their preparations for the Super League finals.
After being sacked by Essendon at the end of the last AFL season, Dank reportedly began a role with Hull KR in October as a high-performance consultant.
Fairfax Media also reported in July that the former Manly and Cronulla sports scientist, who AFL boss Andrew Demetriou last week called on to answer questions about the doping allegations, was also Hull KR’s head of recruitment for the Oceania region.
However, Hull KR chief executive Mike Smith said Dank held no official role with the club and that he had also assured England’s Rugby Football League that the controversial biochemist was merely friends with coach Craig Sandercock from their time together at the Sea Eagles.
”From our club’s point of view, I have spoken to the RFL and I have also spoken to Craig Sandercock on three or four occasions about this and Craig assures me that Stephen Dank is having no involvement with the club,” Smith said.
”Craig is a friend of Stephen Dank’s; they have been friends for many years and they do have conversations from time to time.
”We have our own nutrition and strength and conditioning departments and we have support from the university so we don’t need any involvement with Stephen Dank.
”I can also put it on record that Stephen Dank is not paid a penny from the club as he has no involvement from a club point of view.”
Smith admitted he was ”concerned” about the effect being linked to Dank might have on the club’s image and rejected rumours in Australia that Dank would help the eighth-placed Rovers prepare for the Super League finals.
If Dank did go to England, Smith made it clear he would not be welcome at the club, which has signed St George Illawarra prop Michael Weyman, Newcastle forward Neville Costigan and Canterbury halfback Kris Keating.
”We do believe in people being innocent until proven guilty, however, Stephen Dank would not be welcome at Hull KR until I have some clearance from the RFL that everything is OK,” Smith said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.