Whatever your take is on the matter, one thing remains clear across the board from many fans – any form of doping or drug-taking in sport is what no-one wants to see, and those involved should essentially, have the book thrown out them.

With the announcement today that the NRL has joined forces with other sports, the Federal Government, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency and the Australian Crime Commission, wholesale investigations are now going to be conducted into clubs, players and officials involved with the now disgraced former NRL and AFL supplement guru, Stephen Dank.

The matter is a highly important issue that has to be taken care of, and to show the NRL’s commitment to cracking down on illicit drug use in the sport in Australia, a former Federal Court Judge, The Hon. Tony Whitlam QC, has been appointed to assist in the ongoing investigation, as a permanent NRL Integrity Unit has now been established.

Since the news first came out, the sporting world has gone into meltdown with ongoing speculation as to which players and clubs may be involved or eventually implicated – but in spite of all that, several NRL clubs have come out and either assured their fans that they have nothing to worry about as they have had no dealings with illicit drugs, whereas clubs like the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers, came out to disprove rumours that they had any involvement with Stephen Dank, the man at the centre of it all.

To show just how serious the NRL are about cracking down on the issue, three clubs in the NRL (the Manly Sea Eagles, the Cronulla Sharks and the Penrith Panthers) have all been visited by NRL officials, as they seek to conduct a full investigation into the latest scandal, one that can have major ramifications on individual clubs and the NRL as a whole, if anyone is found guilty.

It has been Deloitte that have been appointed to conduct the individual audits of club, on the lookout for any wrongdoing by any club.

Players have not taken the news that well, however, given that the entirety of the game is being brought into question, resulting in all players being tarnished by the same brush – that they are guilty, something that does not sit well with players.

With Manly the primary club involved in the scandal, given the 5-year period Dank spent there, they said that the now disgraced supplements guru was appointed as a consultant, and that they had no issues or concerns about the use of drugs at the club.

“The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles employed Stephen Dank in an official capacity as a consultant between 2006 and 2010,” said Manly officials.

“During that time, we never had any concerns.

“We always complied with all anti-doping protocols of the WADA Code and the NRL.

“The club will make no further comment.”

As a result of the news, the NRL have committed to:

– The establishment of a fully resourced NRL Integrity Unit;

– Conduct an audit and establish a register of personnel supplying performance services to players and or NRL Clubs;

– Sanctioning any Club or player found to have concealed information in relation to a breach of the NRL Anti-Doping Policy;

– Requiring team doctors to review any instance where supplements, substances or other procedures may have been administered without the prior approval of the team doctor;

– Introducing centralised testing for illicit substances to complement existing club programs.

With these new methods now in place in the NRL, newly appointed NRL Chief Executive David Smith, said that rugby league has every intention of approaching any threat or situation to do with illicit drugs or supplements with vigour, to weed out those involved.

“As sports, we have to get this right and we will,” said Smith.

“We are committed to working with ASADA and the Government in dealing with these threats and in addition to that, will strengthen our own investigative capability.

“Regardless of the outcome of those investigations, there is an opportunity here to take the initiative in terms of the integrity of in sport.

“Our fans and the absolute majority of our players deserve nothing less.”

With the investigations currently ongoing, what are your thoughts on the matter? Should those involved face life bans? How would you react if you found out someone in your club was involved or implicated in the scandal?
Has this changed your opinion of what sport represents, and have you lost respect for sport in general, given the recent news?

Tell us that and more, by replying in a comment to this article or sending us a Twitter mention.

By ricky

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