I never saw drug-taking: Hird
James Hird leaves the Federal Court yesterday. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Suspended Essendon coach James Hird has claimed he never saw any first-hand evidence of his players taking performance enhancing drugs during his time as coach.

Giving evidence for a second day in the Federal Court, Hird revealed the extent of his disagreement with Essendon over the handling of their supplement's saga, while saying the AFL and not the club was the main instigator of their "self-reporting"

Essendon are attempting to have the joint AFL and ASADA investigation into the Bombers supplements program ruled illegal, which could render the show causes notices to the 34 players invalid.

And as he did yesterday, Hird said he was consistently at odds with former chairman David Evans and ex-CEO Ian Robson over what had happened at the club, but never felt he could go public with his dissent.

Finishing his evidence, Hird said from early February he was questioning where the evidence was as to performance enhancing drugs being used by his players.

"I didn't believe it, I hadn't seen it, I wasn't aware of it," Mr Hird said.

Hird also said the veteran club doctor Bruce Reid also had his doubts.

"I trust him with my children's life, my life and my wife's life - he said that he did not think it was true, and he said it hadn't happened," Hird said.

Both Hird and the club claim ASADA unlawfully used the AFL's compulsive powers to gain information they could not have got otherwise - and then gave the information back to the league bosses, against their confidentiality provisions.

Hird insisted that in his view the club had not "self-reported", but had been heavily influenced by former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou and his successor Gillon McLachlan.

"I don't believe the board did agree to self-report. Andrew Demetiou said it was his belief we had taken performance enhancing drugs - and their advice was that we come forward," Hird said

Hird also detailed a showdown he had with his former bosses over the Bomber's own internal report compiled by Ziggy Switkowski.

"I was disappointed with David Evans on this day ... and remember talking to him about certain aspects of the report I did not think were accurate," Mr Hird said.

Former ASADA boss Aurora Andruska took the stand, to answer questions about the joint investigation.

Quizzed by Neil Young QC, Ms Andruska strongly denied that the AFL had been leading the way in the early days of the investigation into Essendon - and said coopeartion between clubs and ASADA was "fundamental".

"The government had stated that the co-operation and using the sports to do its work was the way we should operate," Ms Andruska said.

And she also pointedly refused to deny there was pressure coming from the Gillard government to hasten the investigation, only saying: "I ignored all political pressure."

The West Australian

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