Sports Talk: NRL round 1

Round one of the NRL season kicks off in just a few hours tonight, unfortunately it will merely be an afterthought because of the controversy surrounding the Cronulla Sharks. At this stage the outlook for the Sharks doesn’t look good. Up to 14 players may have used a sports supplement that contained a banned substance. Players were told on Tuesday they had 48 hours to accept a 6 month voluntary suspension if they had used the banned drug, knowingly or otherwise, or face a 2 year ban if investigated and found guilty by ASADA.

“Richard Redman is very experienced and what he would be advising the players would be that – if they were involved and if they know that they were involved – that they should come forward and receive a mitigation in that penalty,” Ings told Fox Sports.

“If they wait, they could get a two-year ban.

“Anti-doping is a very, very complicated area and Richard Redman, I’d say, would be the best-credentialed lawyer in the anti-doping space in Australia.”

Ings said there was a very clear process followed by ASADA in attempting to weed out drug cheats.

“What the players need to realize is that this is a house of cards and, if they are involved in doping, there’ll be someone who will break ranks and people who break ranks are going to get the credit and the reduced penalty,” said Ings.

He reiterated that ignorance was no defense amid speculation Cronulla players could sue the club if suspended, saying they had taken supplements provided by an employee of the club in good faith.

ASADA’s investigations centre on players contracted since 2011, when sports scientist Stephen Dank – who has continually denied any wrongdoing – was employed by the club.

The situation is further clouded with reports that the substances in question were not on the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) banned list at the time in 2011 but were added subsequently.

News Ltd on Thursday reported Gallen, Ben Pomeroy and John Morris all went to the home of ex-Sharks conditioner Trent Elkin seeking clarification on his level of involvement in the investigation.

Elkin, now with Parramatta, was at the Sharks during Dank’s stint with the club.

Ings said it remained a priority for players to understand what substances they were taking. – source

Shit creek seems to be getting well surveyed minus the handheld propulsion system with the sponsors getting cagey and considering their options.

News Limited has learned the Sharks’ small band of sponsors, who are being updated regularly on proceedings by the club, will wait until the ASADA process is finalised before making any decisions on funding.

However, it?s understood that should the club be found guilty of intentional doping, most will leave.

Speaking this morning on behalf of Blades, whose name appears on the Sharks’ jersey,? managing director Bill Spyros said he was “sticking by the club” until all details had emerged.

Blades also have a private sponsorship with skipper Paul Gallen.

“Like everyone involved with the club, we?re nervous,?” Mr Spyros said. “Right now, it?s too early to say if we?re walking away because we don?t have enough information to make a decision.

“We?ve only been given limited information by the club and really cannot say too much more until all the details have emerged.

“But as fans of rugby league, we really are hoping for the best possible outcome. Having an investment with several NRL clubs and players, the last thing we want to see is the game hurt. ?

While not all companies would go on record, there is a concern among some that Cronulla players may have?unwittingly taken a supplement that had only recently joined the banned list.

Of the two drugs allegedly used by NRL players ? CJC-1295 and beta thymosin ? neither were on the WADA banned list in 2011.

They were added only last year. – source:

Controversy aside, I will make the first of what will be my weekly picks:

Tonight: ? ? ? ? ? ?Roosters vs Rabbitohs 12-

Friday: ? ? ?12- ?Broncos vs Sea Eagles

Saturday: ?12+ Warriors vs Eels

12- ? Bulldogs vs cowbows

Sunday ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Panthers vs Raiders 12-

12+ Storm vs Dragons

12- ?Sharks vs Titans

Monday ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Knights vs Wests Tigers 12-

Sportsfreak have done their preview of round one and what to expect, you can read the article?here?

Good luck to all you obsessives playing NRL Dream Team.