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Sharks ready to submit NRL appeal

Cronulla will submit their response on Wednesday to the NRL's breach notice issued over the ASADA scandal, with the Sharks expected to "vigorously" contest the charges including a $1 million fine.
Sharks ready to submit NRL appeal
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Jan 28 AAP - Cronulla will submit their response on Wednesday to the NRL's breach notice issued over the ASADA scandal, with the Sharks expected to "vigorously" contest the charges including a $1 million fine.

After the NRL last month completed its governance review of issues at the Sharks during 2010 and 2011, the club was hit with the hefty fine. Coach Shane Flanagan was suspended for 12 months and trainer Trent Elkin banned for two years.

The three parties were initially given until January 15 to respond before that was extended to January 29.

Cronulla, Flanagan and Elkin are all expected to appeal against the sanctions when they deliver their responses to the breach notices.

When the sanctions were handed down, Cronulla issued a media release saying "it should be noted that it is our intention to vigorously defend the charges".

Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce was saying little on Tuesday but indicated the club was finalising the concluding stages of the submission.

"I don't remember that quote but it's part of the process to make sure we are working with good people to put forward a professional, detailed response to the breach notice," Noyce told AAP.

"And that's what we have been doing. We will finalise the submission tomorrow and then deliver it to the NRL."

Noyce declined to say whether sports scientist Stephen Dank, whose work at the club is under scrutiny, has been interviewed as part of the Sharks' submission.

Flanagan has reportedly hired a powerful legal team in a fight to clear his name as he sits idle, while assistant coach Peter Sharp spearheads the Sharks' 2014 premiership campaign.

"That's a separate submission," Noyce said.

Elkin, sidelined from his role at Parramatta, is also expected to argue against his lengthy ban.

Once the NRL receives the submissions, it will review them before a final determination is made.

How long that process might take is unknown but it could set off a string of legal disputes that could drag on throughout the 2014 season.

The NRL review handed down on December 17 said the "findings have identified serious failures on the part of the club and certain individuals who had a responsibility to safeguard the health and welfare of its players".

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into the issue remains ongoing almost a year since Australian sport's so-called "darkest day" on February 7 last year.

Canberra winger Sandor Earl, who was issued with a breach notice following his admission to the use and trafficking of a peptide, is the only player charged.


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