Players urged to come forward
Raiders chairman John McIntyre. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
Raiders chairman John McIntyre said the club would not actively seek to identify or immediately stand down any Canberra player who may be interviewed as part of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation.
But McIntyre has urged Raiders players to come forward and voluntarily seek the club's advice if they require it.
Media reports claim at least two NRL players - one at Canberra and another at Cronulla -have been directly contacted by ASADA investigators and advised they are wanted for interview.
They are among 31 NRL players who have been identified for interview as part of ASADA's investigation into doping in sport.
The Raiders have been cleared of any systemic wrongdoing as a club, but ASADA is still investigating the potential of individuals who may have been involved in doping outside club programs.
McIntyre said the club had not been informed if any Raiders player would be subjected to an ASADA interview.
It is protocol that ASADA would reveal a player's identity to the club only in the event of a positive doping test or a doping charge.
McIntyre said the club would not
compromise the privacy of the ASADA investigation, adding that it would be inappropriate to stand down a player unless requested by either the NRL or ASADA.
''If the player hasn't been interviewed, you've got to let him play,'' McIntyre said.
''If you stand him down you identify him and you've got a significant privacy issue there because we're innocent until proven guilty.''
However, McIntyre encouraged Raiders players to identify themselves to the club only if they required any assistance.
''At least we would know, we'd be relieved not to be shadow boxing,'' McIntyre said. ''At least you know you've got a target.''
The Raiders were one of six NRL clubs named in an Australian Crime Commission report into doping and organised crime in sport.
The Raiders released a statement on Wednesday, however, saying the club felt vindicated that the ASADA investigation was focused on individuals not clubs.
McIntyre echoed the sentiments of club chief executive Don Furner, saying he was disappointed the drawn-out process had tarnished the Raiders brand.
McIntyre said it would not be acceptable for any Raiders player to be found guilty of doping, but he was confident the club's processes were sound.
''One is one too many, we'd very much prefer no player [be involved],'' McIntyre said.
''I know the club has been in constant contact with various corporate partners and assuring them that everything's squeaky clean. The really annoying thing over this whole thing was the drip-feed process [of information].
''Obviously everyone supports the process [of anti-doping investigation] … but surely there was some way of getting it done and dusted sooner rather than later.
''It would appear at long last we can concentrate on football.''
Raiders vice-captain Brett White, who makes his comeback for the Raiders against the Dragons on Sunday, said players could not get distracted.
''We've got no idea who it is, and another thing is we're pretty confident with the boys we have in the squad that we won't have any problems,'' White said.
with Lee Gaskin