National Rugby League Cronulla Sharks Say Legal Defense Expenses A 'Necessity'
National Rugby League Cronulla Sharks board member Craig Douglas "defended the money his club was spending on legal advice to navigate the Sharks through the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation as a 'necessity,'" but refused to confirm suggestions advisor and former ASADA deputy Chair Tricia Kavanagh was receiving A$6,000 ($6,262) per day for her services, according to Lane & Prozenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Douglas is among 24 candidates "who will contest the board election on April 16." Douglas did not appreciate it when Fairfax Media raised the figure purportedly being paid to Kavanagh, "who recommended coach Shane Flanagan be stood down and four members of his staff dismissed because they supposedly withheld information about alleged doping practices." The Sharks also engaged the services of Alan Sullivan QC "when it was suggested up to 14 players could be stood down because of the program alleged to have taken place during sports scientist Stephen Dank's stint at Cronulla." Douglas: "I'm not going to discuss individuals' remuneration or the fees that they charge, that's inappropriate. This isn't the time to skimp. Yes, we're still engaged with our lawyers, and Tricia Kavanagh is still working with us, absolutely" (SMH, 3/22).
ROUND TWO: In Sydney, Brent Read wrote former Cronulla center Mark McGaw "is ready to make a return to the embattled club in the boardroom." McGaw "has nominated to run at next month's board elections." He is among 24 nominees for the April 16 vote, a group that also includes former Chair Damian Irvine, former Olympian Damian Keogh and former Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Goodwin, "who was one of the faces of the police during the Cronulla riots" in '05 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/22). Also in Sydney, McDonald & Read wrote "players and officials from both sides of the border yesterday raised concerns that State of Origin could be the next major event affected by the drug scandal." Under the timeline outlined by NRL CEO Dave Smith on Wednesday," infraction notices and subsequent standing down of players could begin the week Origin players go into camp to begin preparing for the opening game of the series at ANZ Stadium on June 5." While there is no suggestion any Origin players have done anything wrong, "there is a very real prospect that drug hearings could steal some of the thunder from the game's showpiece event" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/22). THE AGE reported "the contentious 'loophole' allowing players to avoid a positive strike to illicit drugs by self-reporting may be closed on Friday. Australian Football League Players' Association CEO Matt Finnis said that "there had been agreement that modifications to the league's three-strikes were required" (THE AGE, 3/22). In Sydney, Daniel Lane wrote "the owner of the company that supplies 11 NRL teams and seven AFL clubs with their protein and vitamins expected supplement programs to come under the spotlight as the investigation into drugs in sport continues." Body Science Owner Nathan Picklum, "made his comment as some NRL clubs suggested forming panels consisting of the club's doctor, strength and conditioning staff and members of the football office to document every vitamin or supplement their players consumed." Picklum: "The [ASADA] investigation hasn't impacted on us because clubs are still making their orders...We're very stringent. We have to be, we can't afford even a one in a million chance we might compromise an athlete" (SMH, 3/21).