Earl: we'll focus on game, not scandal
Unfazed ... Sandor Earl at Raiders training on Thursday. Photo: Colleen Petch
Raiders winger Sandor Earl says Canberra's players have no reason to be distracted in their preparation for Sunday's season-opener against Penrith as a doping scandal hovers over the NRL.
Up to 14 Sharks players are reportedly under investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) for the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs, and could face bans from six months to two years.
The Raiders and Panthers were among six NRL clubs named in the Australian Crime Commission report, but no action has been taken against either club.
Earl, who switched from Penrith to Canberra mid-season last year, said the situation at Cronulla had not affected Canberra's preparations.
''I don't think there's any nerves. If you're going to read into it, it's not going to be healthy,'' he said. ''We're all just focused on our football, and if something does come up for anyone, hopefully it's dealt with properly and things can carry on.
''I'm more disappointed stuff like this is disrupting, not for any club or individual, but for the NRL.
''It'd be great if we were just talking about football, but that's not the case.''
Sharks players are believed to have met ASADA on Tuesday night and were advised if they came forward they would get a reduced six-month ban, compared to a two-year suspension if they were later found guilty.
All betting for the Sharks' match against the Titans on Sunday has been suspended, but the game will go ahead.
Earl said the Raiders players had not had any contact with ASADA since they were spoken to last month. He also said doping tests had continued as normal and had not been increased.
Prop Dane Tilse said he was shocked by reports of possible doping in the NRL, but was confident Canberra would not be affected. ''To be honest, it [the Raiders being named by the ACC] hasn't been on our mind,'' he said. ''We don't think we've got too much of a worry, we should be right.''