Now, such rigorous testing is set to find its way into the NRL with each every player in the NRL to be tested for human growth hormones (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and any other banned substance.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) have made their way to several clubs to test players for the banned substances, with Penrith and Newcastle seemingly the first on the list.
No particular player was targeted as such, but ASADA and the NRL are cracking down hard on the use of illicit drugs, with 10 Penrith players being tested over two days during the past fortnight.
The entire league is preparing for the tests, but there are some players who disagree with the process that is taking place.
“I don’t know any person in their workplace that would look forward to having a needle stuck in their arm,” one leading NRL player said.
Just like so many other sports are heavily monitored and scrutinised on the use of drugs, the NRL is now on par with those other sports as one of the codes that is coming down on hard on any drug users in their game.
Michael Leary, the Penrith Chief Executive supports the crack down by the NRL to ensure that the code remains clean and drug-free.
“My response to it is that it’s encouraging,” Leary said.
“I’ve been in the game a while now and I’ve never seen testing as advanced as this, we’ve had them here twice and about 10 of our players were tested.
“It’s gone up a level now. This is virtually akin to Olympic standards now with their testing.
“It’s a clear message to every player that if you’re going to have a little break over Christmas and be involved in any wrongdoing it will come back to ruin your career.”
NRL Chief Executive David Gallop said that the more thorough testing being done by ASADA is an indication that the use of illicit drugs in the NRL will not be tolerated, and players will be dealt with accordingly if found guilty.
“It’s a reminder to all players that testing can be unpredictable at times, but I know that the players strongly support rugby league maintaining a strong stance against drugs of any kind and in particular performance enhancing substances,” Gallop said.