NRL players 'will back' new drugs policy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL players 'will back' new drugs policy

By Daniel Pace 15/03/2007 07:25:01 PM Comments (0)

Gold Coast managing director Michael Searle believes the majority of NRL players will support the two-strikes policy on players found guilty of taking illicit drugs.

On the eve of the 2007 season kick-off, the proposal was endorsed at a meeting of club chief executives on the Gold Coast as a compromise between zero tolerance and the "three strikes" draft policy, which was tabled in November.

Under the two-strikes policy, clubs would be able to fine players for a first offence and be given the option to sack them if they transgressed a second time.

The new brief also recommended instant dismissal for any player who gives or sells an illicit substance to another player.

In the past, the Titans and North Queensland have supported a zero tolerance on drugs while Brisbane have backed a three-strikes policy, although most of the CEOs were willing to compromise to achieve a uniform system.

"I think it's an equitable and fair result for everyone," Searle said.

Asked whether the players would accept the proposal, he replied: "Our 25 players didn't hesitate to sign zero tolerance policies.

"There's a few clubs that have these agreements signed off and there's never been a problem with the players.

"I think all players would accept a uniform policy."

The Rugby League Professionals Association (RLPA) has strongly backed a three-strikes regime which it wanted in place for the start of the premiership.

RLPA chief executive Matt Rodwell would not comment on the latest proposal until he had spoken to the players about the contentious issue.

NRL chief executive David Gallop told reporters: "I think they (the RLPA) need to listen to the arguments and I'm sure they'll do that.

"It's certainly a very strongly held view now that three strikes are too many.

"There's a recognition that a player may well make a one-off mistake and should be given some opportunity in that position.

"But after that it's a single opportunity and that was a policy that was pretty much accepted by everyone."

The lack of uniformity across clubs on drugs policy was highlighted last year when the Cowboys sacked forward Mitchell Sargent over a positive test to cocaine.

"We were comfortable with the decision we made in relation to Mitchell Sargent and that was last year," North Queensland chief executive Peter Parr said.

"We move forward now. We're happy to come in line with a uniform policy in the game."

The AFL has a three-strikes illicit drugs policy in which a player's positive test is kept confidential until the third offence.

"I'm not going to be critical of the other codes. They do their own thing," Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen said.

"Importantly from the NRL's view and for rugby league it's making a strong statement to all the players that basically we don't tolerate it.

"The Broncos have always said we weren't for zero (tolerance) and we I know we get criticised for that at times but we're like a family.

"If one of your children make a mistake the first thing you want to do is put them on the right track and get them rehabilitated. That's what we do with the players."

Clubs will continue conducting their own in-house testing for illicit substances until a uniform agreement can be reached.

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