Rugby League


We're in the clear on doping, say Raiders

Canberra Raiders players are angry they have been branded as drug cheats, claiming the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority is not actively investigating any players at the club.

At the invitation of the NRL club, two members of ASADA addressed players and staff in a 30-minute briefing on Thursday morning.

Players also revealed that members of staff wearing the club's uniform had been subjected to taunts, with members of the public calling them ''drug cheats''.

But while ASADA won't say it publicly, Raiders players claim they have been told by the agency Canberra has little to worry about and is not under an active investigation.

''It sucks because you're walking around feeling a little bit shameful in your Raiders kit and everyone thinks you're a drug cheat or a match fixer and we're not getting investigated over anything,'' one Raiders player said yesterday.

''They've literally named us as being drug cheats and we've got absolutely no case to answer, we got told [by ASADA] today.''


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 focused on new-age sports doping and crime links.

Of those clubs, the Raiders and the North Queensland Cowboys were the only two not to be audited.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner understood the frustration of his players but he felt the briefing from ASADA was beneficial.

''I said to ASADA I was briefing the players on Thursday and asked them if they'd like to come along and ensure I was passing on the right information and could answer any questions I couldn't,'' Furner said.

''The major question was how come it is a blanket investigation and not individuals.

''ASADA explained that this was down to the privacy of the individuals and they had to be protected and it means they have to blanket a whole club until it has been cleared up.

''That is one of the downsides of the investigation.

''They answered questions from the players, explained the nature of the investigation and explained they understood the frustration that it could take longer.

''They outlined that they still have to follow their procedure and the governance they are under in terms of privacy and collecting information.''

Furner said he empathised with the comments made by North Queensland coach and former Raiders mentor Neil Henry.

Henry condemned the ACC's process and was angered his club's name had effectively been forced out publicly in connection with the report before even it knew any detail of the alleged involvement.

''All the clubs feel the same way,'' Furner said.

''All the players, all the staff feel under suspicion. It is a very strange time.''

with AAP