Sea Eagles sponsor's blood boils Brad Walter, Sebastian Hassett and Dan Silkstone | July 2, 2008 http://www.leaguehq.com.au/news/news/manly-sponsor-concerned-by-use-of-calves-blood-extract/2008/07/01/1214678037643.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 A LONG-TIME Manly sponsor has raised concerns about the club's use of calves' blood extract as the controversy yesterday spread to the AFL. After revelations in yesterday's Herald linking the Sea Eagles to the product Actovegin, which is manufactured in Europe from the blood of Australian-raised calves, coach Des Hasler and chief executive Grant Mayer were forced to spend much of the day attempting to placate sponsor Body Science (BSc), which produces nutritional supplements and has had a deal in place with Manly for three years. The company also sponsors seven other NRL clubs and AFL premiers Geelong, who last year sent injured defender Max Rooke to Germany for a radical treatment in which he was injected with the calves' blood extract for 10 days by Bayern Munich football club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfarth to help repair a seven-inch hamstring tear. BSc co-owner and director James Grasso said he would also seek more information about the use of Actovegin by the Cats after yesterday telling the Sea Eagles about the concerns his company had if they were using a supplement not provided by them. "We're concerned whenever we hear of somebody using a product that is not supplied by us," Grasso said. "Our concern is that once it goes outside of our control, it puts us in a precarious position. I'm not pointing the finger at anyone else or saying that they don't comply with the WADA guidelines but we know what goes in our products. "From what I have heard about this other product [Actovegin], it has to be administered by a doctor. That's really taking things on a far different course. When we do a deal with a club we can't take that risk. But I have spoken to Des Hasler today and he has assured me that this is not happening and has never happened." The Herald yesterday reported Manly were considering using Actovegin to help boost players' endurance in the lead-up to the finals but has since been told some players have been injected with the calves' blood extract over the past two years to assist with the recovery of injuries. Geelong team doctor Chris Bradshaw, who used his English Premier League connections from a stint with Fulham to arrange for Rooke to visit Muller-Wohlfarth's Munich clinic, yesterday acknowledged Actovegin may also assist with increasing stamina - although he did not have any evidence that it enhanced performance. Bradshaw insisted the Cats did not use it for that purpose but said he was aware of rumours some rival clubs may be. "I've heard certain things about other clubs, but I'm not certain. I think people are sort of dabbling with it a little bit, but I don't know if that's more to do with endurance or overall wellness," he told the Herald. "I've done a bit of research and I haven't seen anything that proves it is a performance aid. I'm still a believer in good basic techniques and good basic supplementation, nothing too spectacular, and we seem to go OK. "There's probably some people out there however that believe it does help in certain conditions. I'm aware of that, and it's something you've got to be aware of and look at. I don't have the experience to consider doing any of that in any of my work at the moment, but it's something you have to be aware of." Under the guidance of physiologist Steve Dank, the director of Manly's sports science department, the club has been at the forefront of technological and scientific development in the NRL, including the introduction of DNA testing of players, GPS tracking to monitor their performances at training and live video streaming of matches. The Sea Eagles also tried using a radical herbal supplement, Lact-Away, which is made from the bark of French pine and was initially an anti-inflammatory treatment for racehorses, until BSc objected three years ago. A former member of Manly's medical staff - strength and conditioning coach Dean Robinson - is now employed at Geelong. Bradshaw said he was aware of the Sea Eagles plans but said Geelong had not given any thought to following suit. "There is not much research out there on this so we wouldn't use it." Bradshaw said the substance had been used for muscle repair in the track-and-field world for more than a decade. Another club doctor said he had heard anecdotally a couple of AFL clubs had expressed interest in whether the substance could offer a performance boost to their players. "People always look for an advantage but this is experimental at this stage," he said.