ASADA Deal Could End Gallen’s Season

Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen and the other NRL players deliberating over Wednesday’s show-cause notices could have their seasons ended tomorrow if they accept ASADA suspensions.

Gallen is the lead figure among 17 NRL players on the clock to admit to taking banned peptides during the Sharks’ supplement scandal of 2011 and commence serving immediate suspensions.

Despite the selection of ASADA targets Gallen and teammate Anthony Tupou in the Sharks side to face Canberra in Woolooware on Sunday, the players have until Friday afternoon to accept the instant one-year suspensions, equating to just a 10-week ban thanks to ASADA’s generous back-dating inclusion.

Should the 33-year-old plead guilty, he will next be eligible for a return in the Australian Four Nations side to take on England at AAMI Stadium on November 2.

ASADA has targeted five other players also facing immediate bans- Tupou, Jeremy Smith, Kade Snowden (Knights), Luke Douglas (Titans) and Matthew Wright (Cowboys)- while the other 11 players are either injured, retired, or playing in feeder teams or overseas.

On the other end of the spectrum, full two-year bans are expected to be pursued by ASADA should the players chose to fight the accusations placed against them. Players will be given 10 days to prove their innocence before medical, legal and scientific experts are called to form a jury in an anti-doping panel.  

Meanwhile, former ASADA chief Richard Ings has urged players under question to oppose the charges if they are innocent.

“My analysis is these are very serious charges, that Asada has a case for the charges and are trying to get to the bottom of what the fault is for individual players,” Ings told Sky Sports Radio on Thursday.

“Those that challenge the process and are to be found at fault might face higher bans but the options are on the table. At the end of the day a player through their counsel needs to make a decision that is in their best interests.”

But Ings issued a stern warning to take the one-year deals even if the banned supplements were administered unknowingly.

“If they are really have done nothing wrong then this would be the sort of case where they should absolutely challenge that process, as the Essendon players have done very significantly. But if they have, even unwittingly, used performance-enhancing drugs the offers on the table would be attractive.”

Photo: Renee McKay/Getty Images


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