21 Mar 2013

ASADA to interview NRL players

5:45 am on 21 March 2013

The careers of National Rugby League players could hang on a visit from the postman this week, with Australia's Anti-Doping Agency to step up its investigations with interview requests for 31 of the game's stars.

The drugs scandal engulfing the NRL has taken a twist with ASADA turning its attention from the clubs to rogue players who might have taken banned substances outside the club framework.

Other than the ongoing probe into what went on at Cronulla in 2011 - which has already claimed the jobs of four Sharks football staff and the standing down of coach Shane Flanagan - the NRL said clubs were in the clear.

The news would have been welcomed by the other five NRL clubs mentioned in the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report into drugs in sport - particularly Manly - who have been under most heat thanks to their long association with sports scientist Stephen Dank.

But there is no such relief for the 31 players who will be hauled before ASADA investigators, in a process which is due to take between 4-6 weeks.