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Smith, Furner sympathise with Earl's fate

NRL boss Dave Smith has expressed sympathy for the plight of disgraced Canberra winger Sandor Earl who is facing a life ban from rugby league.
Smith, Furner sympathise with Earl's fate
by AAP

By James MacSmith and Joe Barton

SYDNEY, Aug 31 AAP - NRL boss Dave Smith has expressed sympathy for the plight of disgraced Canberra winger Sandor Earl who is facing a life ban from rugby league.

On Thursday Earl was issued with an infraction notice from the game's governing body after admitting to the use and trafficking of peptides.

Smith fronted the media in announcing Earl as the first player to be charged in either the NRL or AFL after the release of the Australian Crime Commission report in February and ASADA's on-going investigation into supplement use in both football codes.

He was adamant on Thursday the NRL remained "committed to a drug-free sport" but in an interview on Triple M on Saturday, Smith said his concern was also for the welfare of Earl.

"It's tough, at the end of the day Sandor Earl is a young man and we are talking about anti-doping offences here, we are not talking about criminal offences," Smith said.

"But in his life this is a big deal for him. I feel for him.

"The welfare of these youngsters is absolutely paramount and he has handled himself pretty well and we have done what we have done and we have to move the process forward.

"But I will never forget that we have human beings at the end of it."

Earl has admitted to the use and trafficking of CJC-1295, a banned substance that triggers the release of growth hormone.

The 23-year-old could be banned for four years to life in conjunction with the World Anti- Doping Authority code. It is a ban that would apply across sports worldwide.

Smith's comments come after Earl's mother Jan told Fairfax Media her son was struggling with the situation.

"We know it's not the end of the world but for a 23-year-old in his mind it feels as though his life has finished," she said.

"His life is about sport, his body, training, fitness. That's his whole life, but life isn't all about football. There's a footballer, but there is a person with a mind, body and soul - I think that's being overlooked.

Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner said it was difficult for Earl that his mistake was being played out in so public a forum.

"I spoke to him a few times on Thursday and made sure he was going ok," Furner told ABC Radio.

"It's a really tough time for him. He's the first person named and everything is so public for him.

"There are human beings at the end of it.

"I know that sounds obvious but when you're a part of them and when you're with them and when you work with them you see that side of it.

"It's tough. And like a lot of young men they make mistakes. People forget that they've made their own mistakes, but unfortunately they are played out very publicly. I feel for him and hope he's ok and I have been liaising with him."

Furner conceded the Earl incident had compounded what had been a difficult year for Raiders, which has included the sacking of fullback Josh Dugan and of coach David Furner, and the current standing down of AWOL representative centre Blake Ferguson.

"The whole week, the whole year has been hard," Don Furner said.

"Yes it's hard. We've just got to work through it."


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