NRL Believes Sydney Roosters Are Clean In Doping Scandal As Club Regroups
The National Rugby League "is confident the integrity of its final series won't be compromised," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The NRL believes the Sydney Roosters "didn't use banned substances during their association with a controversial nutrition company." The minor premiers "cut ties with weight loss and nutrition company Nubodi earlier this year, claiming players were tested for human growth hormone without the consent of club officials and staff." However, there "are no concerns" about the Roosters taking their place in the grandfinal qualifier, or the grand final itself, "should the Bondi Junction outfit make the decider." NRL Integrity Unit Head Jim Doyle said, ''The NRL integrity unit was made aware of these matters earlier this year and we have no reason to suspect a doping issue" (SMH, 9/27).
QUESTIONS ABOUND: In Melbourne, Andrew Webster wrote of all the unanswered questions raised about the Roosters' involvement with Nubodi, "this is the one the NRL cannot ignore: how did the results of blood tests, allegedly showing elevated levels of human growth hormone in six Roosters players, find their way into the mobile phone of a prominent crime figure?" For months, those close to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into the use of performance-enhancing substances in rugby league "have been talking about the depth and complexity of what will be revealed." The "most nefarious link was to organised crime" (THE AGE, 9/26).
ROOSTERS REGROUP: In Sydney, Josh Massoud reported "as a dark cloud on Thursday descended over the Roosters" in the wake of revelations that at least two current players could be dragged into the ASADA investigation, unrelated recent inquiries "have unearthed evidence connecting the pair to cocaine and ecstasy rings." Authorities already "have their sights set on two Blues players, along with a current player from an out-of-Sydney club who is suspected to have contact with outlaw motorcycle gang members" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/27). Also in Sydney, Massoud & Hooper reported photographs of blood tests "showing elevated testosterone and HGH levels" for three Roosters players "were taken without permission and deliberately leaked to a figure suspected of dealing illicit party and performance enhancing drugs" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/27). Also in Sydney, James Hooper reported Roosters coach Trent Robinson "called a snap team meeting at the club's Moore Park headquarters." Robinson brought the Roosters together "to try and ensure the club's focus remained on progression to the first weekend in October rather than any looming ASADA probe" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/27).