Canberra Raiders forward Brett White. Photo: Graham Tidy
Brett White knows how it feels for his club to be dragged through the mud, having been stripped of two premierships at Melbourne. But the Canberra Raiders prop says the club, and rugby league, will be better off once the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation is over.
White made a successful return from a serious knee injury with a 15-minute cameo in Canberra's trial wins over Wyong and Mounties at Mount Pritchard on Saturday.
He was one of a handful of players the Storm were forced to offload after they were found guilty of systematic salary cap rorts, which cost them their 2007 and 2009 titles.
The 30-year-old said ASADA's investigation was a necessary evil.
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 into sports doping and crime links.
''I think it's a bit of a different situation [to the Storm scandal] here. All the focus was on Melbourne, this is a bit more widespread,'' White said on Sunday.
''Obviously a lot of players are being painted with the same brush. It's not the ideal situation and no one's really happy about it, but we fully understand if there is a problem within the game.
''The innocent players, they're going to be clean, and the guilty people will be found.
''At the end of this, we'll have a cleaner game. A lot of innocent people have been pulled into this; I think the public are aware of this.''
White said he had pulled up well from his first run after months of mind-numbing rehab.
He is likely to be given more minutes this Saturday when the Raiders play their final trial against Canterbury at Goulburn.
''I was certainly nervous before the game and have had plenty of injuries before, but the knee was probably the hardest because you rely on it so much,'' White said.
''I had concerns, but I knew I'd done all the work and did everything I could have done.
''The contact wasn't a concern, it's just the quick changes of direction in defence which are a worry.''
It may have only been 15 minutes, but White said it made the long months of arduous rehabilitation worthwhile.
''Ten-and-a-half months is a long time, there's a few things I need to sharpen up and get right,'' he said.
''I trained through the Christmas break and even the other week when the boys had a few days off, and it's certainly worth it now, getting some game time.''
White said the birth of his fourth child, one-month-old Joey, gave him a welcome distraction when on the comeback trail.
''I think family in general helps you turn off from footy a lot easier, it's good to be able to do that,'' he said.
Fellow forwards Shaun Fensom and Josh Papalii didn't play on Saturday, but are set to return against the Bulldogs.
Young hooker Matt McIlwrick suffered a suspect rib cartilage injury against Wyong and Mounties, but is expected to be available this week.