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Cronulla Sharks accept doping ban deal

Paul Gallen (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
22nd August, 2014
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The majority of past and present Cronulla Sharks NRL players implicated in the ASADA scandal have elected to accept bans proposed by the anti-doping authority.

It’s been reported the bulk of the 17 players and ASADA have agreed to back-dated 12-month suspensions on Friday morning.

Of the players involved, there are 10 current NRL players that will be stood down from playing immediately.

The back-dated suspensions will see players miss just three regular season matches, however some will suffer the disappointment of missing finals and representative opportunities as a result.

After accepting the ban, NSW State of Origin captain Paul Gallen will not feature for the Kangaroos in the upcoming Four Nations tournament.

Cowboy’s centre Matthew Wright will miss North Queensland’s finals run, as well as playing for Samoa in the Four Nations tournament.

Newcastle’s Jeremy Smith will also miss out on representing New Zealand in the competition.

Additional players set to just miss the three NRL games include Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou and Nathan Gardner (Cronulla), Kade Snowden (Newcastle), along with Luke Douglas and Albert Kelly (Gold Coast).

In accepting the proposed ban, players were required to admit their involvement in Cronulla’s 2011 supplements program, and that they were treated with banned peptides.

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The decision of players to agree to these terms is believed to have been driven by assurances communicated from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), that the terms of the agreement would not be appealed by the international body.

The Sharks players had been given until 9.30am on Friday to accept the deal.

A delay in correspondence with WADA had the Sharks’ lawyers sweating on the deadline, forcing players to buy time for their response on Friday morning.

Former Sharks, Paul Aiton and Ben Pomeroy, who are now based in the Super League, have reportedly rejected the offer.

It is understood that a small number of players are still yet to provide a response – their identities are not yet known.

The bans effectively decimate Cronulla’s player options for their wooden spoon decider against the Raiders on Sunday.

With AAP.