Broncos, Queensland, Kangaroos player has a ‘major drug problem’
By Dean Ritchie, Karl deKroo and Brent Read
August 03, 2009
The NRL will investigate claims a Brisbane Broncos, Queensland and Australia player has a major drug problem.
“No, he is clean. I’d put my house on it.” – Bruno Cullen The Brisbane Broncos chief executive was adamant when informed of the suspect player’s identity that the player was innocent. The player’s club and teammates are aware of his drug problem but have failed to act for fear of a drug scandal that could further derail their finals push, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
The player’s behaviour has been erratic in recent months, with comparisons made to the drug problem Andrew Johns endured for 12 years.
NRL chief executive David Gallop would not comment when asked whether he would ask Brisbane for the player’s test results or how many times he had been tested.
“I’ve spoken to the journalist and he has given me the name of the player and I have contacted the CEO of the club he plays for,” Gallop said.
"Obviously there will be some steps taken to look into the matter.
"Clearly that is all I can say about the matter at this stage.
“The league and clubs have random and targeted tests available for them.”
Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen, meanwhile, said the club’s drug policy and testing procedures were stringent and regular.
“We not only conduct random tests but we also target-test players,” Cullen said. "We are not sounding holier than thou but we do more drug tests than any other club.
"The minimum is 70 tests a year - we do 300. That is something we did before the minimum came in.
"Two or three times a year we drug test the entire squad. That’s 75 tests alone.
“If the players have a 10-day break between games and they have been partying, we will test up to a dozen of them when they return to training.”
Cullen said the tests were carried out by an independent company, and that his club did not interfere in the results.
“We don’t influence them,” he said.
Told of the player’s identity, Cullen said: “No, he is clean. I’d put my house on it. He is tested regularly.”
Under NRL regulations, league officials have the power to target-test players believed to be using recreational drugs. The game also has a comprehensive in-house testing regime that involves all its clubs.
The NRL’s two-strikes policy caters for anonymity should a player fail an initial test, but a second positive result allows for the player to be named and shamed. The player then receives an automatic 12-match suspension, although the club also has the option to terminate the player’s contract.
Clubs are required to do a minimum number of tests each season, but some clubs have introduced their own procedures, which are more stringent.
Brisbane have a 24-7 testing regime while Gold Coast Titans have adopted a one-strike policy, meaning that any Titans player who returns a positive test is sacked immediately.
The NRL in-house policy operates on condition of strict anonymity.
Unlike the AFL, the NRL provides no evidence of the number of tests conducted by clubs or the number of positive results returned each year. As such, the only players to fail drug tests and be named this season have been those caught in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency web.
The highest-profile of those players was Cronulla’s Reni Maitua, who received a two-year ban for returning a positive test to clenbuterol.
The latest allegations are understood to involve a player who has been regularly tested in recent years, and who has never returned a positive result.
That aside, the allegations have the potential to cause major disruption for the NRL in the lead-up to the finals.
The latest drama to hit the NRL comes as the game recovers from allegations that some Queensland players consumed a mixture of Stilnox and Red Bull in the lead-up to Origin III, a cocktail that simulates the effects of cocaine or ecstasy.
The Queensland Rugby League has been heavily criticised for its farcical investigation into the claims.
The Australian Rugby League will today receive a copy of the QRL report into the Maroons’ Origin III camp.
The ARL has reserved its judgment on the issue pending a review of the QRL’s investigation into allegations players dabbled with Stilnox and drank excessively in the lead-up to their loss to NSW in the third and final game in Brisbane.
The QRL has already confirmed that two players breached curfew while in camp, and were subsequently reprimanded, but the QRL has been criticised for its lackadaisical attitude to the investigation, which soured the Maroons’ historic fourth consecutive series win.
I don’t think this is a good example to the sport that the players did. The kids of today look up them as rolemodels and if these guys are doing this kind of thing while being a rolemodel then the kids of today will do the same if they are stars.
In saying that these players get paid 500k a season for playing compared to people like you or me who work normal day lives. They are getting paid so much to play the sport they love so much. While their friends are out partying etc… Theses guys I think might not know what to spend the money they get on so they spend it on illict party drugs. They shouldn’t do it while they are playing and are star of the game but they can do after there playing career so they don’t bring a bad name to league.
Use of drugs in footballers is no more or less than any other job or association.
If you scrutinised the 50 odd people that work where I work, there are probably a couple that shoot up, a dozen or so that regularly use ecstasy / cocaine / speed, and twenty odd that smoke dope either occasionally or regularly.
My guess is that’s probably a normal distribution so the suggestion that is its a surprise or an outrage to find a footy player using cocaine or whetever is a complete nonsense.
Surprisingly also is it is alcohol that causes by far the greatest problems. All these attacks on girls, biffo in nightlcubs, driving offences are alcohol fueled yet getting on the drink is encouraged and people who don’t drink are teated as social outcasts. Strange times in deed.