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Sharks NRL players to ponder ASADA offer

The 17 past and present Cronulla players issued with show-cause notices by ASADA have 48 hours to accept proposals offered to them by the anti-doping authority.
Sharks NRL players to ponder ASADA offer
by AAP

SYDNEY, Aug 20 AAP - The 17 past and present Cronulla players issued with show-cause notices by ASADA have 48 hours to accept proposals offered to them by the anti-doping authority.

Current Sharks squad members Paul Gallen, Anthony Tupou, Wade Graham, Nathan Gardner and John Morris were among the players notified by ASADA on Wednesday of the decision to press ahead with action relating to the use of prohibited substances, CJC-1295 and GHRP-6, during the 2011 NRL season.

The players have reportedly been offered deals, ranging from being backdated to last November, to six-month punishments to be served during the off-season.

Should the players decline these offers, then they have 10 days to prepare their case in response to the show-cause notices.

Gallen expressed his concern on Wednesday morning that, by accepting deals, the players would be labelled drug cheats.

"It's (our reputation) tarnished now already, but no matter what, if we do this, we're going to be labelled a drug cheat," he told Sky Sports Radio's Big Sports Breakfast.

"It's a tough situation to be in.

"Our mind and our mood changes every 10 minutes. At one stage, we're (thinking) 'thank God, this is going to be over hopefully. Whatever happens is going to happen and we can just get on with life'.

"Because closure on this thing would just be unbelievable (after) what we've gone through the past two seasons.

"But then you say 'let's stuff this - we've done nothing wrong'.

"It's a real hard situation to be in."

Regardless, Gallen was adamant he hadn't taken any banned substance.

"I'm 100 per cent positive I've never taken anything that's been on any banned list," he said.

The anti-doping authority confirmed on Wednesday that the notices were issued based on evidence collected during the 16-month probe.

"This information along with the evidence collected by ASADA will be put to the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel for consideration," a statement said.

"In the event the panel enters a player onto the Register of Findings, the player will be offered an opportunity to have their matter heard before the NRL's Anti-Doping Tribunal.

"Should a matter proceed to the NRL's Anti-Doping Tribunal, it will be responsible for assessing the evidence and player submissions before delivering a judgment.

"In the event a player waives their right to a hearing, the NRL will decide the appropriate sanction in accordance with its anti-doping policy."




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