QRL clears Maroons players of drug abuse - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

QRL clears Maroons players of drug abuse

28/07/2009 05:08:55 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak has tackled Queensland officials over the condition of his returning State of Origin stars after investigations on Tuesday found no evidence of Maroons players taking home made drug cocktails during camp.

A Queensland Rugby League probe, headed by coach Mel Meninga and team manager Steve Walters, could not substantiate claims some players mixed the prescription drug Stilnox with the high-energy drink Red Bull to obtain a cocaine-like high while in camp for Origin III.

But Henjak stirred the pot on Tuesday, publicly expressing his disappointment in the condition of his players when they came back to the Broncos after a build-up described by one NRL club boss as being "more like an end-of-season" trip than an Origin camp.

"We always like the players to come back in the state that we sent them," Henjak said after announcing the returns from injury of Darren Lockyer, Karmichael Hunt and Tonie Carroll for Saturday's vital clash with Canberra.

Asked if they'd returned in suitable condition, Henjak replied: "Probably not, no."

QRL general manager Ross Livermore emerged from the Origin debriefing in Brisbane declaring there was no evidence to support allegations players used drugs or were out drinking in the early hours of Tuesday morning before the third game in Brisbane.

"We've had a very thorough discussion," said Livermore, adding Meninga had spoken to "some" senior players.

"We've investigated all the claims that have been made such as players being out late and players taking substances.

"The only thing we've been able to substantiate is two players stayed out longer than they should have early in the camp.

"Those players know who they are and they've been reprimanded.

"There's certainly no evidence that's come forward to date that links the players being out on the Monday night or early hours of Tuesday morning.

"Similarly, we haven't got any evidence of the use of any substances by any player in the team.

Livermore however did not dismiss the drug allegations.

"I'm not saying they're not true, but we can't provide any evidence to substantiate those claims," he said.

The fact the investigation failed to interview every player in camp opens the door to criticism they have swept the allegations under the carpet.

"We're not in the habit of sweeping things under the carpet but unless someone comes forward with something positive our hands are tied," said Livermore.

Henjak was clearly unimpressed with the condition his players came back in with players allowed to drink from the start of camp on Tuesday until midnight on the Friday before Origin III.

"That's something for the QRL to investigate. That's all we expect from them - I thought they probably could have come back in a bit better state," said Henjak.

Livermore invited Henjak to come forward and name the Brisbane players and what he thought was wrong with them.

"As I've said many times we've got an obligation to send those players back to their clubs in the best possible condition, keeping in mind they have played an Origin game the night before," he said.

"They're on loan to us, they're not our players.

Livermore refused to name the two players who'd stayed out late drinking on a day off training.

"They've been reprimanded over it, let's see down the track whether it has any affect on their selections in future," he said.

A stern-faced Meninga left the meeting without commenting to reporters.

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