AAP

Cronulla officials privately admit they have no idea whether the 14 players embroiled in the drugs scandal tearing apart the club have played their last NRL game for the year.

While Damian Irvine's days as Cronulla chairman appear to be numbered - his allegations of the staff cover-up of Sharks footballers injecting themselves with horse drugs in 2011 was rejected by deposed coach Shane Flanagan on Sunday - the future of the players linked to taking other banned stimulants that year is less certain.

It appears the offer of a six-month ban for the admission to ASADA that they used banned stimulants is still on the table after it was extended last week - a burden some carried into Sunday's emotional 12-10 opening round win over Gold Coast.

Of the players who were at the Sharks in 2011, six played against the Titans - skipper Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Ricky Leutele, John Morris, Anthony Tupou and Matthew Wright.

"It was really, really tough on the players, they've been under a lot of pressure," said interim coach Peter Sharp.

"To start with, they're young men before they're football players and they're under enormous pressure at this club.

"I can't believe they played and I can't believe how well they played.

"It seriously has been a heavy week in the players' lives.

"They're young men and we need to support them better than we have this week."

Asked whether the situation would get better any time soon, Sharp said:

"Do you want the truth ... probably not."

Asked about the possibility of losing 14 players to suspension, new recruit Chris Heighington said:

"If there's 14 players out it would be devastating for the club.

"I couldn't see it happening, but I would be devastated.

"They feel like they've done nothing wrong.

"Obviously it's pretty tough for the boys of 2011 who have done nothing wrong and been splashed all over the paper, but hopefully the truth comes out and they play all year."

Gallen and Sharp both said the next step was Monday morning's recovery session, but they were unsure what path the drugs scandal would take.

"It really is a day to day proposition for us at the moment," Sharp said.

Day-to-day could be the best way to describe Irvine's status as well.

His stunning claims regarding the equine drugs were rejected by Flanagan, with Irvine spending the hours leading up to the clash with the Titans holed up in meetings with fellow directors as the board went into damage control.

There was speculation Irvine would stand down from the role in the coming days.

Should he not quit the post or be pushed out, the public sentiment against Irvine - who only arrived back in the country on Friday after an overseas trip - could see him ousted at next month's football club elections.

Gallen backed the practices of Flanagan and the sacked foursome of football manager Darren Mooney, trainer Mark Noakes, physiotherapist Konrad Schultz and doctor David Givney.

"The people that were here before would not do anything to hurt us players," Gallen said.

"They are good people, and I would vouch for them any day of the week."

The players and the dumped staff certainly had the support of the fans.

While only 100 or so attended the rally organised by supporters outside the ground, the feeling inside it was full of emotion for the team as well as Flanagan and his sacked staff.

It took just seven minutes for the 'Bring back Flanno" chant to start up, while there were also banners supporting the popular coach and calling for the board to go.