ESSENDON coach James Hird twice discussed peptides with biochemist Shane Charter by the pool of a Gold Coast hotel at the beginning of the club's supplements program, Charter has claimed.
Hird, Charter and sacked sports scientist Stephen Dank discussed a range of substances, including peptides, hormones and vitamins, at the Sheraton Mirage in Surfers Paradise in December 2011, he says.
The Bombers were staying at the hotel during their pre-season training camp.
Charter - a key witness in the anti-doping probe - and his family were also staying at the Sheraton.
Investigators from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority have been asking Essendon players about Charter's presence on the training camp.
It was during this pre-Christmas period that Essendon began injecting its players with substances.
A briefing document commissioned by player management company Elite Sports Properties tells Essendon players to expect questions from ASADA about the period prior to Christmas 2011.
Essendon has dismissed as a chance encounter Hird's recent dealings with "Dr Ageless" Charter, Hird's personal trainer in his playing days.
"Shane Charter was introduced to James Hird by friends to give dietary advice to him and a number of his friends during 2003 and in early 2004," a club spokesman said in February.
"James has had no contact or communication with Mr Charter since, except when he ran into him in 2011.
"The relationship was never more than that."
Essendon spokesman Justin Rodski last night said the club stood by this. Watson accuses ASADA of 'scare tactics'
Charter, who is assisting ASADA, claimed he had two poolside "discussions" with Hird on the Gold Coast over the course of a day after being invited to Queensland by Dank.
But he backed Essendon's version that it was a chance encounter, saying he believed Hird had not been expecting to meet him and had appeared unconvinced by Dank's pitch.
"Dank was telling him it was all WADA-approved and Hirdy was asking 'Where's Reidy?"' Charter claimed, referring to club doctor Bruce Reid.
"Dank's (point) was to push the fact that other clubs were going above and beyond standard supplement programs and Essendon needed to think more cutting edge."
Charter told the Herald Sun Hird had stressed that any supplement regime must meet anti-doping rules.
ASADA has been told Hird was tricked into attending the Gold Coast talks, sources said.
Charter has a text message from Dank saying "hexarelin 3mg" which Dank sent him during the week of the camp.
Dank has previously claimed he injected Hird with the peptide Hexarelin, banned for players but not coaches.
Hird has claimed he thought he was receiving amino acids.
The Herald Sun does not suggest Hird was injected during the camp.
The Gold Coast training camp finished just a week before Christmas Day.
- with Jon Ralph and Michael Warner