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Potential AFL penalties no guide for NRL

NRL chief executive Dave Smith says any action the AFL takes against Essendon will have no bearing on the timeline or potential punishments involved in ASADA's on-going investigation into rugby league.
Potential AFL penalties no guide for NRL
by AAP

By Rob Forsaith

SYDNEY, Aug 13 AAP - NRL chief executive Dave Smith says any action the AFL takes against Essendon will have no bearing on the timeline or potential punishments involved in ASADA's on-going investigation into rugby league.

Smith insisted on Tuesday he'd spent little time watching how the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) had been working with his code's main rival AFL on their probe into the Bombers' suspect 2012 supplements regime.

ASADA has given the AFL an interim report on that investigation, allowing the AFL to consider possible charges against the Bombers ahead of the finals series.

Meanwhile ASADA has only just begun interviewing NRL players as part of their rugby league investigation which also followed the Australian Crime Commission media conference on February 7.

"I'm concentrating on the NRL. I don't know enough to give you a comment on where the AFL is, or isn't," said Smith when asked why the AFL investigation appeared further advanced.

"It's a very different sport, and different circumstances are involved - as far as I can understand.

"So my focus is on getting the NRL investigation completed with ASADA, as soon as we possibly can."

Smith noted ASADA's first round of interviews with NRL players were expected to be completed by the end of the month, and he could give no guarantee there would be any outcomes before the season ended.

"We need to let the investigation run its course," Smith said. "So I'm not going to set dates or timelines.

"...I'm comfortable, without giving a blow-by-blow account, with where ASADA are at.

"At the end of the investigation, we'll deal with infraction notices or wherever it lands ... it's important there's no pre-judging and everyone's given a fair go."

Smith dismissed Cronulla captain Paul Gallen's suggestion the league hadn't provided enough support to Sharks players as the ASADA probe looks into the club's 2011 supplements regime.

"The players' association I think have come out in response to the level of support that has been given from the NRL, and Cronulla have been heavily supported - virtually from day one - by the NRL," he said.


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