NRL great Petero Civoniceva fears Sandor Earl's fall from grace is just the tip of the iceberg as ASADA continues its investigation. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
RUGBY league great Petero Civoniceva hopes the Sandor Earl drugs scandal is the catalyst that cleans up the sport, and insists that injury is no excuse for taking short cuts.
Civoniceva was Earl's teammate at Penrith for two years, and was aware of the shoulder issues that allegedly drove Earl to use the banned peptide CJC-1295.
But the Queensland Maroons legend said the game needed to take a tough stance to deter other players.
''It's the last thing we want to see in our game. There has to be a zero tolerance policy, there cannot be an acceptance of anything in terms of performance-enhancing drugs,'' Civoniceva said.
''I was mates with Sandor and a lot of the guys [at Penrith] and it comes down to personal decisions. He made the wrong one.
''Hopefully he's in a good head space coming out of it and can move on with life, that's all I hope.''
Civoniceva pointed to Origin teammate Brent Tate's hard road back from serious injury as proof players shouldn't feel compelled to cheat.
''Taking a short cut with injuries, I just don't understand it,'' he said. ''The right way to treat your injuries is to do the right thing by the medical staff and do the right rehab process.
''It's a really bad decision that's been made, for a player to feel he has to go down that route is unfortunate.
''I look at someone like Brent Tate who had a long list of career-threatening injuries, yet has done the tough yards and did everything right to fight his way back.''
Like many in league circles, Civoniceva fears Earl's fall from grace is just the tip of the iceberg as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority continues its investigation.
''Our game has to make a statement and obviously it has,'' he said. ''It's hard to think there's more to come with this issue, but I think there will be.
''All we can do is make sure it's done, and we make sure our players, supporters and our game never have to address it again.''
Earl faces a four-year ban for the use and trafficking of CJC-1295 and other prohibited substances, but is co-operating with the investigation in the hope of obtaining a 75 per cent reduction for ''substantial assistance''.