Essendon’s Dr.Bruce Reid, coach James Hird and captain Jobe Watson. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo Jobe Watson.

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Jobe Watson has expressed regret that he admitted taking a banned drug, given the immediate consequences created by his honesty.

Watson’s ”critical admission” that he believed he was given the banned drug AOD-9604, has stunned AFL officials and heaped more pressure on Essendon club doctor Bruce Reid and senior assistant coach Mark Thompson, who will be the last Bombers official to be interviewed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority next week.

Watson told the AFL Players Association on Tuesday he regretted his comments – specifically the fall-out that his admission caused the club and the pressure it placed on various parties to act. But the Brownlow medallist indicated he did not regret answering truthfully; he felt his admission that he took the anti-obesity drug did not explain the full context.

His comments were consistent with what the Essendon captain had told ASADA when he was among the first players interviewed. A number of Essendon players took the drug, which is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Bombers, however, maintain that it has yet to be proven ”whether any of our players in the 2012 season were given prohibited or performance-enhancing substances”. Essendon has argued that AOD-9604 was not on WADA’s banned list at the time of use, and that it is not performance-enhancing.

What Watson felt he had not been able to explain in Monday’s On the Couch interview was that he, like his teammates, had followed every procedure and taken every step possible to comply with the doping codes.

In the interview, he mentioned that AOD-9604 had been deemed legal by club doctor Reid. Fairfax Media understands that not all of the consent forms for each substance taken by a player were signed by the club doctor.

Those connected to Watson and the club insist there is no wedge between the parties.

Watson won the Brownlow Medal last year, prompting former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett on Tuesday to call for Watson to be stripped of the award if found guilty of taking a performance-enhancing drug.

Watson is set to make the trip to Perth on Wednesday for Thursday night’s clash against West Coast, despite protests from the likes of former Olympian Dave Culbert that he should not be allowed to play.

But former ASADA boss Richard Ings said it was premature for Watson’s Brownlow Medal to be questioned, despite his admission.

Former Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank told Fairfax Media in April that he used the anti-obesity drug on Essendon players last year and said he believed the substance complied with anti-doping regulations at the time.

As part of what he called a ”frontier” program, Watson said: ”My understanding after it being given through [club doctor] Bruce Reid and the club is that I was receiving AOD.

”The understanding we had through the advice we got and from the medical doctor at the football club, was that it was a legal substance.”

When approached on Tuesday, Watson said he was unable to further discuss the investigation.

”The investigation with the AFL and ASADA is ongoing, and I’m looking forward to that investigation being made public, and the findings of that being made public,” he said.

Reid’s link with the supplements saga remains of interest, particularly as the program has regularly been attributed to a ”rogue element”.

The club has maintained Reid was excluded from key decisions on player health through the program, in which using external doctors to sign off on requests to test player’s blood or inject players was adopted.

Reid also detailed his concerns about the program in a letter to the club board, but it’s unclear why he did not pursue this when answers were not forthcoming.

After five months of investigation, Thompson is set to be the last official interviewed by ASADA next week. The Essendon investigation is expected to be completed by mid-August.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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