If worse comes to worse, time is on Bronson Xerri's side.
Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker felt that was the one positive regardless of the outcome after Xerri was provisionally suspended for returning a positive A-sample for steroids on Tuesday.
Croker said the timing of the controversy was disappointing for the NRL - just two days out from the restart of the season following the coronavirus shutdown.
The star centre said he didn't know the details of Xerri's case, which has the Sharks outside back facing a potential four-year ban.
ASADA took a blood sample from Xerri on November 25, which has returned a positive test for exogenous testosterone, androsterone, etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol - although there are no results from his B-sample yet.
It means Xerri faces a four-year ban.
He only made his debut last year and finished 2019 with 22 NRL games under his belt.
Croker said the fact Xerri was so young was a positive.
The Raiders co-captain also debuted as an 18-year-old and played 21 games in his first season.
He has since gone on to play 259 games and will go down as one of Canberra's all-time greats when he finally hangs up the boots.
"I do feel for the kid. One positive - he's 19 years old, he's got time on his side," Croker said.
"I don't want to go too far into all that. I do feel for the kid. I'm sure he's struggling. I hope he's got really good people around him because it's going to be a really tough time regardless of what happened. I hope he's doing alright."
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Croker said while it was a blow on the eve of the restart, he was confident the game would survive.
"It's disappointing, especially two days out from the season starting, but there's no good time for anything like this to happen," he said.
"The timing of it all and the NRL to work so hard and [ARL Commission chairman] Peter V'landys to get the game back up and running, to have something like this two days out it's very disappointing, but I know the game's very strong and we'll move forward from it."
Meanwhile, Croker felt Raiders coach Ricky Stuart would stick with the 17 that won the opening two rounds of the season.
Bailey Simonsson was named on the left wing, Nick Cotric on the right and Michael Oldfield as the utility on the bench.
But Jordan Rapana has returned from a brief stint in Japanese rugby union and was named 18th man.
"I think it'll be the same 17 that won the first two games," Croker said.
"Ricky's shown faith in the 17 boys that played those first two games and it's probably good for someone like Rapa to - even though it feels like he hasn't left - just get the weeks under his belt, the k's under his legs and get used to it all again."
NRL ROUND THREE
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Melbourne Storm at Melbourne, 7.35pm.
Raiders team: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Bailey Simonsson, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Nick Cotric, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. George Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. Joe Tapine, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Corey Horsburgh. Interchange from: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Emre Guler, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Michael Oldfield, 18. Jordan Rapana, 19. Matt Frawley, 20. Kai O'Donnell, 21. Tom Starling.
Storm team: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Justin Olam, 4. Marion Seve, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange from: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, 16. Christian Welch, 17. Max King, 18. Tom Eisenhuth, 19. Brenko Lee, 20. Ryley Jacks, 21. Darryn Schonig.
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