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Bookies halt betting on NRL's Sharks

Concerned Cronulla players have met a number of times to discuss the club's mention in the Australian Crime Commission report into alleged doping at the NRL club amid reports the Australian Sports Anti-Doping agency wants to have some of Sharks stood down for six months.
Bookies halt betting on NRL's Sharks
by AAP

Eds: corrects second para to read Wednesday night

By James MacSmith and Wayne Heming

SYDNEY, March 6 AAP - Concerned Cronulla players have met a number of times to discuss the club's mention in the Australian Crime Commission report into alleged doping at the NRL club amid reports the Australian Sports Anti-Doping agency wants to have some of Sharks stood down for six months.

Cronulla called an emergency board meeting on Wednesday night following the reports, a night after a number of players and their managers met to discuss the ongoing ASADA investigation.

It was the sixth time players had met as an unofficial group.

With the Sharks' season-opener against Gold Coast coming on Sunday, board members convened at an undisclosed location to talk about the crisis that could engulf the club.

The move came amid News Ltd reports that ASADA is trying to arrange to have some players stood down immediately for six months.

ASADA told Sharks officials and players this week of the extent of their involvement in the investigation, which focuses on the time sports scientist Steve Dank spent at the club in 2011, although Dank has denied any wrongdoing.

coach Shane Flanagan declined to comment on the situation, but denied any Sharks players were interviewed by ASADA.

The Sharks are expected to address the matter at a press conference on Thursday.

"If there is anything to talk about it is in our best interests to be upfront and honest and about it all," a Sharks official told AAP.

The club later sought to reassure fans with a short statement on their official web site.

"Sharks fans and all rugby league supporters can be assured the club has been very proactive in fully cooperating with ASADA and taking other measures that prioritise the integrity of our club and the welfare of our playing group," the statement said.

"While there are strict boundaries around what we can say while the ASADA investigation is ongoing, fans should be assured that as soon as there is an opportunity to provide further information we will do so."

As the crisis cast a pall over the NRL season start on Thursday bookmakers reacted to the speculation.

"There's a lot of rumour and innuendo, particularly about one side, the Sharks," Tattsbet's Gerrard Daffy told AAP after his agency suspended betting on the Sharks game and a number of its futures markets at 4.30pm AEDT.

"There's rumours a lot of players are going to be stood down, and not all from the one one club."

Sportingbet Australia spokesman Bill Richmond said his agency had also stopped betting on the Sharks-Titans game.

"We stopped all markets associated with the Sharks game," Richmond said.

"We have calls from people already wanting to back the Gold Coast."

TABSportsbet had also stopped taking bets on the fixture.

News Ltd said Cronulla had hired a top lawyer to help them deal with the ASADA matter.


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