Positive tests rock rugby league - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Positive tests rock rugby league

By Steve Jancetic 18/10/2006 11:24:36 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league has been rocked by news three players from the game's feeder competitions having failed drug tests, including one positive test for human growth hormone.

Newtown Jim Beam Cup player Matthew Eather and Penrith-St Marys Premier League representative Greg Brain were each suspended for two years after testing positive to performance enhancing drugs, while Penrith halfback Craig Trindall copped a 12-week suspended sentence for cannabis use.

Trindall, who played a handful of games for the Panthers NRL outfit this year as fill in for injured playmaker Craig Gower, is obliged to complete 40 hours of community service within six months and faces a minimum two-year ban for any further offence.

The news of Trindall's positive test comes on the back of North Queensland prop Mitchell Sargent having his contract torn up in August this year after he returned a positive test for cocaine during an in-house drug test.

But rather than express concern that drug use was becoming more widespread in the game, NRL chief executive David Gallop endorsed the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's (ASADA) drug testing policy as helping keep the game clean.

"Given the amount of testing we are undertaking through ASADA and given the in house testing for illicit substances it would seem a ridiculous risk to take," Gallop said in a statement.

"WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) draws some clear distinctions between performance enhancing and non performance enhancing substances but any positive drug result is enormously damaging to one's character."

Just how damaging a positive drug test is remains debatable however with Sargent signing a three-year deal with Newcastle some two weeks after being sacked by the Cowboys, while Trindall's punishment amounts to little more than a slap on the wrist.

Eather returned a positive test to a sample collected on July 23 for the anabolic agent Nandrolone, ASADA also determining that he had used a human growth hormone, based upon his own admission.

The three-man panel of Sir Laurence Street, former St George skipper Mark Coyne and Dr Jeff Steinweg also suspended Brain for two years after he tested positive to the anabolic agent Stanozolol.

NSWRL general manager Geoff Carr, who fronts the governing body for both the Premier League and Jim Beam Cup competitions, also claimed the findings reinforced the game's wide stance against drugs.

"We have a comprehensive testing programme across the game that not only supports our representative programmes and the NRL's testing programmes, but which ensures confidence in all our state and national competitions," Carr said.

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