Players’ union boss David Garnsey has warned NRL players caught in the crosshairs of the protracted ASADA probe not to forego their rights to finally obtain a conclusion to the 18-month investigation.
The 17 players involved in the Sharks’ 2011 supplements program, which include 10 current NRL players, and their legal representatives are expected to meet NRL officials on Wednesday.
Speculation is rife the players will be offered six-month bans which will result in them missing just the first month of the 2015 season.
New ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt is said to be keen to have the matter finalised by season’s end.
“There is a meeting this week – it involves the players and their legal representatives. At the moment as much as we know is that it is an update on the investigation,” Rugby League Players’ Association chief executive Garnsey told AAP on Tuesday.
“There is a lot of speculation about what could come of it, but it is all just speculation and I don’t want to add to that by throwing my two cents in.
“But while the players would like the investigation to end as soon as possible – not at the expense of them exercising the rights they have.
“The players need to understand they have rights in this situation as well and they shouldn’t simply throw their hat in because they want the situation to end.
“It would be good to have that behind us but that is not the reason to bring that about.”
Speaking at the announcement of the NRL-RLPA academic team of the year, Garnsey said he was aware the impact the situation was continuing to have on the players involved and their families.
“It has been a extraordinary strain on them and how they have been able to focus on their football at all, I just don’t know,” he said.
“Of course with the evolution of time, a lot of players who were at the Sharks have moved overseas or to other clubs.
“But it is hard to avoid the fact that those at the Sharks and those in that environment have had a very tough time and it is not something that you want any athlete facing.
“We all want to focus on football, that is a given and these things are unfortunate when they take the headlines and take the focus away from why we all love the game but the players need to understand they have rights in this situation as well.”