David Shillington feels tarnished after the Canberra Raiders were labelled "drug cheats or match-fixers" after being named in the ongoing Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation into drugs in Aussie sport, but says playing a trial on Saturday is a relief for the whole playing group.
The Raiders vice captain was expecting to play about 30 minutes against the Mounties and Wyong on Saturday, giving the squad a brief respite from the attention of being one of six club's ASADA is investigating.
Cronulla, Manly, Newcastle, Penrith and North Queensland are the other five clubs.
While any alleged breaches by the Raiders are considered to be low level, Shillington said everyone still felt tarnished.
"Yeah, the Raiders have obviously been labelled drug cheats or match-fixers along with the other five teams that were named in the investigation – you don't want those sought of accusations coming at you or associated with you," he said.
Raiders coach David Furner didn't want to get caught up in the "circus" surrounding the investigation and said all the players were focused on the job at hand.
After a barrage of questions relating to the ASADA inquiry, his face lit up when finally asked a football question – an indication Shillington wasn't the only one looking forward to the trial.
"A lot's been said, I know this morning I won't be saying too much but I'll be talking about football," Furner said.
"Has there been any distractions there? I think the players have shown they've been quite focused on this trial coming up and obviously at training."
Furner was also glad to have Brett White (knee) back fit to play and he indicated captain Terry Campese (knee) was likely to be ready for round two.
He said star full-back Josh Dugan would be given first crack at taking over the kicking duties from the injured Jarrod Croker (knee), although winger Reece Robinson was also in the mix.