New coach, Neil Henry, probably thought he was safe as houses. After every injury under the sun has been endured by the Titans, after players had seen time on the sideline for everything from spear-tackles to drunk driving, after former coach John Cartwright jumped before he was given the arse: what more could happen?
What more indeed?
Now the creepy spectre of ASADA has re-emerged from the shadows to shake an accusing finger at 17 current and former Cronulla players, including our Albert Kelly and Luke Douglas.
Kelly and Douglas, along with the other 15, are accused of falling victim to the Sharks 2011 “supplements” program which would have made Lance Armstrong blush.
Yesterday Kelly and Douglas accepted a back-dated 12 month ban that would rule them out for the rest of the 2014 season: a massive hit to a side already missing Kevin Gordon, David Mead and Dave Taylor.
Not only do Kelly and Douglas have to deal with this ASADA ban but now WADA is lurking with threats of an even lengthier suspension. Something that seems likely given ASADA’s leniency after essentially banning the players for three week bans for taking a banned substance: a sub-par punishment when compared to other examples of breaches.
This whole ugly fiasco is far from being done. WADA has 21 days to appeal ASADA’s initial punishment and it also looks like these 17 players might have a leg to stand on if they sued Cronulla for exposing them to this “supplement” program. Strange times are ahead.
What do you think? Is three weeks too weak a punishment for people that have taken prohibited substances or have these players suffered enough? Is there a double standard for NRL players? Shane Warne was suspended for a year after being found guilty of taking a prohibited drug supplied by his Mum: is this any different?