Cronulla captain Paul Gallen is one of 10 current NRL players to accept an ASADA deal that would result in a 12-month ban, backdated to November 2013, for their involvement in the supplements program at the club in 2011.
The players, who are set to be stood down immediately by the NRL, agreed to the deal on Friday morning after receiving assurances from the World Anti-Doping Agency that it would not appeal against the terms.
Smith: 'these are tough times'
NRL chief executive Dave Smith responds to Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and nine current players accepting an ASADA deal for their involvement in the supplements program at the club in 2011.
Cronulla teammates Nathan Gardner, Wade Graham and Anthony Tupou are all understood to have accepted the deal, along with Newcastle's Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden, Titans halfback Albert Kelly and prop Luke Douglas plus North Queensland centre Matthew Wright.
The suspension rules Gallen out of the upcoming Four Nations tournament for Australia, while Smith will be unable to represent New Zealand.
With the exception of Wright, the other players would, in effect, serve a three-match club playing ban as they would be ruled out for the rest of the season.
Wright will miss the finals with the Cowboys and the Four Nations tournament for Samoa.
Super League-based players Paul Aiton and Ben Pomeroy are understood to have rejected the offer.
It is understood the players made the decision after being told WADA was "comfortable" with the backdated bans
Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett has confirmed Knights players Smith and Snowden are among those players who accepted the bans.
"Two players have been withdrawn this morning," Bennett told reporters at training on Friday.
"They accepted their ASADA breach notices so Jeremy [Smith] and Kade Snowden won't be playing.
"Under the terms of reference they have deemed to have served a period of time, and have been given a three month suspension and will be available some time in November ...they have to accept the situation, the reality of it all.
"Of course it was a difficult choice ... I have no understanding of the other 15 players involved, it was when they were at Cronulla in 2011.
"They are at our club, they are playing for the club, we are the face of it they have to take their medicine and so do we.
"At least it won't be hanging over their heads.
"It has had a huge impact right across the game, the NRL to their credit taken action against Cronulla, they have suspended the coach, fined the club and suspended a trainer.
"Hopefully this is the last part of it now ASADA taking action against players and now we can all move on.
NRL boss David Smith said he hoped the 18-month investigation was finally reaching a conclusion.
"I'm not completely up to date as to who has decided to do what, but I do know that process is going on in the background for all the players that were issued with show cause [notices]," Smith told Channel Nine.
"If we can bring the thing to an end, if we can get the right response whereby the punishment fits the crime, whereby anybody that is involved with the game that has had a duty of care is not involved in our game any more, and we can finally put this behind us, then the right things have taken place in the right way and I think we have managed the process pretty well so far.
"Then of course we will all be happy and the fans will be happy and the game can move on and we have some clear blue air next season."
- with AAP