Wayne Bennett.
Wayne Bennett. Rob Williams

Bennett says Knights players have nothing to hide from ACC

PATIENCE is wearing thin among the NRL clubs involved in the Australian Crime Commission's report into the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Six clubs have been named by the ACC in its report into the use of banned substances - Cronulla, Manly, Canberra, Penrith, Newcastle and North Queensland.

CEO David Smith said the NRL does not have permission to go into any further detail as those six clubs nervously wait what consequences they could face.

This caused an outcry from Knights coach Wayne Bennett.

"We've just been told we're one of the clubs, and we know no more than that," he said.

"Under the Hunter Sports regime, there's nothing to hide here. They want us to confess to something, but I've been racking my head on what we can confess to.

"I've been through all my staff, checked with all the players. Whatever they're looking for, it hasn't happened here in the last 18 months. After that I've got no idea."

Despite Bennett's vehement refusal that nothing untoward has happened at his club, Minister for Sport Kate Lundy is still pleading with clubs to come forward and continue assisting the ACC with its investigations.

"I think it's been frustrating for everybody, and that's one of the reasons why the Australian Crime Commission has been working so hard with the players to enable information to get into the public domain," she said.

"Let's remember, it is in the hands of each club who believes it may have a problem, to put their hands up and be part of the solution."

Panthers captain Kevin Kingston echoed Bennett's views and won't be one putting up his hand, indicating he too holds no nerves for any of his players in taking banned substances.

"I've never been worried. I've got full faith in our staff. Hard work - that's our only supplement," he said.

Meanwhile, the clubs named were briefed by ASADA yesterday.

Panthers general manager Phil Gould emerged from one of the meetings and conceded the investigations are going to take time and his club will be keen to assist in them.

He denied to say whether the meeting nominated any individual players or coaches.

However, ASADA earlier said they would not be revealing specific details to clubs.

"This briefing will not name players, but rather describe to clubs the investigation process ASADA will follow," ASADA said in a statement.

Bennett said his club is being investigated for possible performance enhancing drugs breaches going back as far as 2005.

But under his watch last season and this pre-season, he said the Knights' supplements program has been strictly monitored.

"We have a policy here where they can't even take Red Bull, they can't have caffeine before games. It just doesn't happen in this club," he said.

"This just can't keep going on, it's nearly a week-old now and we've still got not one bit of information about what we've got to confess to. It's just weird, absolutely."



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