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NRL players seeking clarification of rights and obligations prior to A



NRL players seeking clarification of rights and obligations prior to ASADA interviews.

Josh Massoud
The Daily Telegraph
April 04, 2013 12:00AM

THE NSW Supreme Court could be called upon to determine the precise rights of 31 current players who have been summoned for interview by ASADA.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal lawyers acting for the players are prepared to seek an injunction that would prevent any interviews from taking place until they know the level of co-operation required under NRL rules.

Under the NRL Anti-Doping Policy that's attached to every standard contract, players agree to provide "reasonable assistance" to investigators.

Rule 230 (9) states: "Players must provide all reasonable assistance to WADA, ASADA or the NRL in the application and policing and enforcement of the ADP (Anti-Doping Policy), including co-operating fully with any investigation."

The clash between "reasonable assistance" and "fully co-operate" has created confusion over where the boundaries lie.

It's understood former ARL chairman Colin Love has advised at least one player, as well as former Sharks trainer Trent Elkin, and is pushing for the definition to be tested.

"It's quite ambiguous and we need clarification before the interviews take place," one player representative said. "The problem is difference between reasonable and unreasonable assistance; where's the line?

"We need a definition on that and if we can't agree with the NRL's lawyers, then the Supreme Court might be the next step."

As revealed by The Daily Telegraph last Friday, ASADA has now distributed all 31 interview notices to the players' legal representatives.

The players were given seven days to indicate whether they would make themselves available for the interviews, which will be held at a neutral location.

Knowing they must at least make themselves available for interview under the rules, it's understood all players have communicated their willingness to co-operate.

Interviews were not expected to start until Monday at the earliest, but this fresh uncertainty over how much co-operation players must give could delay the process.

Lawyers acting for the players are awaiting an interpretation of the clause from their peers at the NRL.

Should they agree with the NRL's definition, the interviews will go ahead as planned. But if there's a difference of opinion, a final call could be left to a NSW Supreme Court judge in a move that could set back the saga for a month or more.

Cronulla and Manly have hired lawyers to represent all their implicated players: Robert Redman (Sharks) and Tim Unsworth (Manly). In addition, the RLPA has engaged Andrew Coleman SC to advise the group as a whole.

RLPA boss David Garnsey did not return calls last night.

The Sharks also beefed up their administration yesterday, confirming former Tigers and Roosters boss Steve Noyce had joined the club as football manager. 

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