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No evidence of drug use by Kangaroos

By Steve Jancetic 02/09/2007 08:17:29 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta star Nathan Hindmarsh says he saw no evidence of drug use by fellow Australian players including Andrew Johns at the Rugby League World Cup in the England seven years ago.

And Australian Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr also rejected suggestions that Gorden Tallis made a formal complaint about drug use by several Kangaroos including Johns during that tour.

Their comments are at odds with then Kangaroos coach Chris Anderson, who said former international Tallis lodged the complaint after Australia won the 2000 World Cup.

"I was the youngest on tour and I never saw anything like that," Hindmarsh said.

"That was the best tour of my life, I'll never forget it, the amount of alcohol we consumed. (But) I didn't see anything like that (drug use), I just saw a bunch of blokes having a few beers and having some good times."

Carr said he knew of rumours about drug taking, which were investigated, but found to be completely baseless.

"He (Tallis) didn't make any complaint to us," Carr told the ABC.

"We heard rumours in 2000 about drug allegations after the tour was over, well after the tour.

"We investigated those as best we could.

"There were quite a number of drug tests taken on that tour, they were all negative, no one came forward to us so on the basis that we had no real evidence we couldn't substantiate the rumours.

"If we would have had evidence of anybody, anybody at all on that tour we would've acted, there is no doubt.

"It is one of the worst things as far we're concerned in any sport ... but you can't blame someone or act on anything without appropriate evidence, and we never had it."

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said the ARL owed it to both players and fans to address allegations of a drugs culture in the game.

"I believe the league's got an obligation to its fans, but above all an obligation to the players, to do everything that it can to ensure that players are not participating in the taking of drugs," he said.

Johns shocked the rugby league world this week when he admitted to being in the grips of drugs and alcohol for the majority of his playing career over the past 10 years.

The retired NRL star's revelations came after he was arrested in London on Sunday with an ecstasy tablet in his pocket.

Hindmarsh said he was stunned by Johns' admission because he did not know any players involved in drug use.

"I knew he was out there and enjoyed the parties as much as the next bloke, but I didn't know anything about that (drug use)," he said.

"I was pretty much stunned.

"(I know) it's out there, (but) I've never been offered anything.

"I don't know any players that have taken it."

Johns' former coach at Newcastle, and now Parramatta mentor, Michael Hagan said he'd heard rumours but never saw any evidence of the halfback using drugs.

"I think the rumours had filtered even before I got to the club," he said.

"You hear them every week and I think now there's other players being implicated because of similar rumours and gossip ... but in the end you can only deal with what's in front of you.

"There's been no evidence - to me - as far as taking drugs or seeing him take drugs.

"His performance at training was never under question because he was one of the better trainers in our football club.

"That was never, in the club situation, a known event.

"There would only be a very select group of people that would be even aware of the condition.

"In the end, and Andrew said himself, he ran the gauntlet and he worked outside the boundaries.

"Now we're hearing a lot of people say they may have known ... it's now like we want to hold everyone else to account ... I don't know if holding people to account is going to change the events of what happened."

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