Code names ... Wallabies coach Robbie Deans drops in on the Canberra Raiders last month. Photo: Colleen Petch
CANBERRA players are angry they have been branded as drug cheats, claiming the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority is not actively investigating any players at the club.
At the invitation of the NRL club, two members of ASADA addressed players and staff in a 30-minute briefing at Raiders headquarters on Thursday morning.
Players also revealed that staff wearing the club's uniform had been subjected to taunts, members of the public calling them ''drug cheats''.
Raiders players claim they have been told by the authority that Canberra has little to worry about and is not under active investigation.
''It sucks, because you're walking around feeling a little bit shameful in your Raiders kit and everyone thinks you're a drug cheat or a match fixer and we're not getting investigated over anything,'' one Raiders player said on Thursday.
''They've literally named us as being drug cheats and we've got absolutely no case to answer, we got told [by ASADA] today.''
Raiders players have become increasingly frustrated since Canberra was one of six NRL clubs mentioned in the Australian Crime Commission's report on its year-long investigation focused on sports doping and crime links.
Of those clubs, the Raiders and North Queensland were the only two not to be audited.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner understood the frustration of his players but he felt the briefing from ASADA was beneficial.
''I said to ASADA I was briefing the players on Thursday and asked them if they'd like to come along and ensure I was passing on the right information and could answer any questions I couldn't,'' Furner said.
''The major question was how come it is a blanket investigation and not individuals … ASADA explained that this was down to the privacy of the individuals and they had to be protected, and it means they have to blanket a whole club until it has been cleared up.
''That is one of the downsides of the investigation but they have to follow procedures because it's a police matter.
''But it effectively went public when the Crime Commission report became public, unfortunately.''
Furner said he empathised with the comments made by North Queensland coach and former Raiders mentor Neil Henry.
Henry condemned the Australian Crime Commission's process and was angered his club's name had effectively been forced out publicly in connection with the report before they knew any details of the alleged involvement.
''All the clubs feel the same way,'' Furner said. ''All the players, all the staff feel under suspicion. It is a very strange time.
''But, as we have already said, we will co-operate with the investigation in every way we can.''