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SBD Global/March 21, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Plans To Interview 31 NRL Players
Published March 21, 2013
CALL ME, MAYBE? In Sydney, Josh Massoud wrote ASADA directly contacted "two current players earlier this week to arrange formal interviews." One player representing the Sharks and the other the Canberra Raiders, were both "contacted via their mobile phones," in contrast to how Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant outlined ASADA interviews would be requested at Wednesday's press conference (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/21). Also in Sydney, Stuart Honeysett wrote several NRL clubs said that they felt vindicated after ASADA "revealed the target of its investigation was rogue players who had acted outside of club programs." Penrith, Canberra and North Queensland "went public with their feelings after they were outed alongside Cronulla, Manly and Newcastle in an Australian Crime Commission report." Penrith exec GM Phil Gould said, "We were confident right from day one that as a club Panthers never had any cause for concern regarding this matter. Today's acknowledgment from NRL chief executive Dave Smith simply vindicates those long-held beliefs." The Raiders issued a statement Wednesday "claiming that the matter had been poorly handled by the ACC when it released its report in February and that the club's brand had suffered." Canberra CEO Don Furner said, "Canberra has always had complete confidence in its football operations and this includes a strong commitment against drugs" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/21).
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko wrote Manly has hit out at ASADA "after being cleared of systemic doping, claiming the 'ridiculous' decision to name the club as part of its investigation has done untold damage to the Sea Eagles brand." Aside from Cronulla, "the spotlight has shone most brightly on Manly, which employed controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank" between '06 and '10. Manly board spokesperson Phil Sidney said, "We've got sponsors and fans and we've had to go into defensive mode. For the club to be named before they have any justification for doing that is quite ridiculous" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/21).
HUSH MONEY: In a seperate article, Massoud wrote "Cronulla's board offered at least one member of its four sacked coaching staff hush money when his employment was terminated nearly a fortnight ago." Former trainer Mark Noakes "was tempted with an additional one month payout of his salary in return for refraining from any public comment about his dismissal and years of service to the club." He rejected the offer and has since given several interviews "expressing his anger at the board's actions" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/21). In Sydney, Andrew Webster wrote, "Of greater significance was the revelation from league bosses Dave Smith and John Grant that alleged systematic use has only allegedly occurred at Cronulla, meaning players or groups of players have acted independently at other clubs." In other words, the other five clubs named in the ACC report -- Manly, Canberra, Penrith, Newcastle and North Queensland -- "have been dragged through the mud for no good reason." Their coaching staffs, their officials, and most of their players "with the possible exception of some rogue elements are all in the clear." Presumably, "an apology to these people will be coming some time soon ..." (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/21).