Essendon were provided with potentially illegal supplements by a convicted drug trafficker who called himself "Dr Ageless", the Melbourne Age has claimed.
The newspaper said biochemist Shane Charter, arrested by Victorian Drug Squad detectives in 2004 and found in possession of 100,000 pseudoephedrine based tablets in bottles marked as Vitamin B supplements, was understood to have worked with former Essendon performance scientist Stephen Dank on providing Bombers players with supplements.
Charter previously worked with sportsmen including swimmer Scott Miller and footballers Ben Cousins and Shane Woewodin, but The Age did not suggest any of these former clients had acted improperly.
Charter had also written to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to seek clarification over peptides, the substance understood to be at the centre of the ASADA drug investigation which has engulfed the Bombers.
Sources said Charter, the director of Dr Ageless Pty Ltd, had imported banned peptides from China. Others said it was well known in the body building and supplement industry that he operated on the edge of the law and promoted the use of peptides to some clients.
The explosive claims came after retired Bomber Mark McVeigh defended the club's 2012 supplement program, launching a scathing attack on de-listed forward Kyle Reimers in the process.
Speaking the day after Bombers officials took the extraordinary step of calling the AFL and ASADA in to investigate whether Essendon players had taken illegal supplements, McVeigh told SEN radio that he knew "100 per cent" that everything he took was within WADA and AFL regulations.
McVeigh, who retired in 2012 after playing 232 games, took aim at Reimers who told Channel 9 that he found the supplements "odd".
Reimers said Bombers officials said they were "right on the edge of the levels you could be taking".
"Kyle Reimers has come out and said things that are untrue," McVeigh said.
"He's a disgruntled player that was de-listed by the football club."
McVeigh labelled the drugs controversy that has engulfed his former club as a huge shock and claimed the Bombers had been dragged through the mud.
McVeigh rejected claims the players were asked to sign waivers.
"It wasn't a waiver ... it was a consent form," he said.
"And if you were comfortable with what you were taking, which we all were because it was within the rules and the doctor had told us it was fine ... we signed it and it gave them consent to be able to have these tablets.
"Every player knew what they were taking. It was listed and we knew that it was within the rules.
"It was clearly stated to us what we were taking. If you didn't know, you must have been asleep in the meeting, which, you know what, Reimers probably was."
McVeigh confirmed players were taken off-site for injections but denied that anything untoward was administered.
"Footy clubs can sometimes be filthy, so we were taken to a sterile environment and the only injection I ever had was a vitamin C or vitamin B injection," he said.
"Nothing any more sinister than that, and that's what other players would have if they were feeling a bit down, or trying to get over a cold before a Saturday night game."
The Bombers trained behind locked fences yesterday as coach James Hird continued to express confidence in the club's fitness program which is led by Dean "The Weapon" Robinson, who was stood down temporarily pending the ASADA and AFL investigations.
Robinson's long-time colleague Dank was sacked last year as the club's injury toll mounted.
A Melbourne-based doctor, Robin Willcourt, yesterday said he had held discussions with Robinson and Dank last year on how to repair players' testosterone and growth hormone levels, but said both had denied Essendon players were on peptides.
Essendon chairman David Evans yesterday sent an open letter to Bombers members and repeated that the club believed it had done nothing wrong, but admitted receiving "concerning information that we felt required swift action".
In other developments:
·Former Essendon captain Tim Watson said he was angry that the club had been gullible and would be devastated if his son Jobe was stripped of the Brownlow Medal.
·Any adverse finding against the Bombers would spread beyond their club and the AFL. Angus Monfries and Sam Lonergan are now playing for Port Adelaide and Richmond, Reimers and Brendan Lee have switched to the WAFL to play for Perth and East Perth. Brent Prismall and Michael Ross are playing in the VFL while Henry Slattery will play in the SANFL.