Ex-West Coast star exposes drug culture

AAP

Former West Coast star Daniel Chick has revealed that a toxic culture of illicit drug use was rife within the Eagles' 2006 AFL premiership-winning team.

The revelations emerged just three days before the AFL grand final, the Eagles' first since winning the flag nine years ago after beating the Sydney Swans by a single point.

Daniel Chick leaves his Perth home this morning. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Chick was at his home in Perth this morning before leaving for the airport.

He said he would have more to say at a later time and that he "just wanted to get healthy".

Premier and Eagles fan Colin Barnett today acknowledged Chick’s revelations were bad timing but said his comments were unlikely to distract from Saturday’s grand final.

"That was an era that I think has gone," he said.

"There’s no doubt within the Eagles that there were a number of players that were using drugs and we’re all conscious of that. But, I think that’s going back into the past and the Eagles have changed their approach.

"I think football has too and while drug issues occasionally arise, I think footballers now are more professional and realise that it’s their total lifestyle that is the key to them succeeding."

Chick claimed in the Herald Sun today that he and former teammates Daniel Kerr and Ben Cousins took massive doses of asthma drug prednisone in a pattern experts describe as bizarre and inappropriate.

He revealed in the report that a club staffer hid certain players from drug testers, that a former Eagles figure dished out sedatives in bulk to players and that the use of cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine were widespread in the squad.

Chick also said some players would snort crushed Xanax and take Valium with vodka to relax on flights to and from Perth.

Prednisone use is banned under anti-doping rules, unless cleared by a special ASADA medical committee. Chick said Cousins, Kerr, and himself, who were asthmatic, had this approval.

However, he would only ever take the drug during the season, on game days, and with other stimulants.

"I couldn't even sit still on the bench," Chick said.

"I started taking the 20mgs and 5mgs tablets on game day but then it escalated up to 40 to 50mgs quickly.

"It smashes your system. I've since read a lot about it, we didn't know what was done to us. You feel bulletproof basically.

"Even the next day or two you wouldn't feel knocks but by Wednesday you flatten out and it is hard to get going again. Once you are in that cycle it was like an addiction."

Chick said he'd gone public with the story as he wanted senior figures to be made more accountable for their players' health.

"What went on at West Coast is due to lack of leadership from the top down," he said.

"Players' health should be more important than protecting the brand ... I don't think the premiership is tainted but it came at too high a price."