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Drug and alcohol abuse rife, admit stars

By Lunar Loops, Jun 20, 2006 | |
  1. Lunar Loops
    No, it's not Corrie folks...this one more of an up and (down) under story. From Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/news/league/drug-and-alcohol-abuse-rife-admit-stars/2006/06/20/1150701553432.html) :

    Drug and alcohol abuse rife, admit stars
    Jacquelin Magnay
    June 21, 2006


    NEARLY two-thirds of top NRL players believe there is a culture of binge drinking in rugby league. And many players - one in three - know of illicit drug use in the code.
    Twenty-nine per cent reckon they know of players using cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, but no one has tested positive to these drugs under the Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority testing regime since Andrew Walker's 2004 positive test for cocaine. The poll was conducted by Rugby League Week, which questioned 100 NRL players anonymously about a variety of issues affecting the game.
    The extent of drug taking is surprising given that the ASADA testers can arrive on game day unannounced and demand a urine sample. But, anecdotally, the players believe popping a few pills is better than drinking beer all night and turning up for training with a hangover.
    One of the players told the magazine: "If you are tested on Friday night, players see it as a green light to party on the rest of the weekend. It is not as if they are going to come and test you again 24 hours later."
    NRL chief executive David Gallop said players ran a risk of the highest order. "You only have to ask Andrew Walker [who was banned for two years]," he said.
    The ASADA tests are paid for by the NRL and in the 2004-2005 year - the latest figures available - there were 166 tests on game days and 374 out of competition (in the off-season or mid-week). This is an important distinction because ASADA, following the guidelines of the World Anti Doping Agency, tests for the full range of drugs, including the illicit ones, only on game days.
    Illicit drugs are not tested for when the drug sample is obtained out of competition, which for NRL players comprises the vast majority of their drug tests. Indeed 85 of the players polled said they had been drug tested between one and five times this year.
    The poll results about alcohol were more in tune with the headline acts of recent time.
    When the magazine asked the players whether there was a culture of binge drinking in rugby league, 63 said yes and 37 said no.
    Some of the more recent alcohol-fuelled incidents include: Cronulla's Tevita Latu being thrown out of the game for punching a woman in the face after frequenting a local nightclub; Parramatta fullback Jarryd Hayne fined for biting a woman in a nightclub; Eels stars Mark Riddell and Tim Smith stood down for going to the pub before training; and Warriors winger Misi Taulapapa being sacked due to alcohol issues.
    Taulapapa has since joined the Rockhampton-based Central Comets and last weekend made his Queensland Cup debut with the club under a cloud because of yet another alcohol-fuelled incident involving other players.
    A meeting of the Comets board on Monday night suspended Ryan Peters and Kane Hardy for the remainder of the season after a woman complained that a "small number of men were making sexual gestures at her from a neighbouring house".
    She was reportedly "forced to lock herself inside her house and call police".
    It was the Comets' third player probe this year, with three players found guilty of breaching the club's code of conduct for their behaviour at a game in Rockhampton earlier this year. Co-captain Denny Lambert was found not to have a case to answer following a recent incident near a city hotel where a glass window was broken.
    Gallop said the poll results about the alcohol were encouraging because "there is now an awareness of the problem and the players know about our extensive education program".
    He said: "Alcohol is not a new problem but the opportunity to drink is more limited now than in previous generations, which increases the dangers of one-off binges."
    And just when Braith Anasta and Brett Finch probably thought it couldn't get any worse, it just did, reports Glenn Jackson.
    Under pressure to retain their spots for NSW in Origin III, the two have now been given a serve by their peers.
    Anasta, the Roosters five-eighth, was voted the most overrated player in the game for the fourth time in seven years in Rugby League Week's poll, while his teammate Finch was given the similar infamy as the NRL's biggest sook.
    Of 100 players surveyed, Anasta polled 30 votes in the controversial category, "won" in previous years by fellow Roosters Brad Fittler, Craig Wing and (now Bronco) Justin Hodges. Twenty-eight players refused to answer the question.

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