23 Aug 2014

Former Kiwi among banned NRL players

4:38 pm on 23 August 2014

The Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed that Knights forwarnd and former Kiwi Jeremy Smith is among 17 National Rugby League players who've accepted a three-month drug ban.

The players were issued a 48-hour ultimatum by the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority with the majority of the 17 players at Cronulla exposed to the Sharks' peptides programme in 2011.

They're understood to have accepted a back-dated 12-month ban which is due to expire on November 21.

The Sharks captain Paul Gallen has reportedly also accepted the ban, alongside Cronulla team-mates Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou and Nathan Gardner, Newcastle's Smith and team-mate Kade Snowden, Gold Coast pair Luke Douglas and Albert Kelly, and North Queensland back Matthew Wright.

Newcastle and former Kiwis player Jeremy Smith.

Newcastle and former Kiwis player Jeremy Smith. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The bans means players will miss the remaining three games of the NRL season.

Bennett confirmed Smith and Snowden would not play against Brisbane on Saturday after reluctantly accepting the bans.

The bans are set to decimate the Sharks side for their wooden spoon play-off with Canberra.

It means Gallen and Smith will both be out of contention for the end of season Four Nations tournament.

In accepting the bans, the players must admit to taking banned substances as part of Cronulla's 2011 peptide programme.

These admissions are likely to be used as evidence against support staff.