Cronulla legend Paul Gallen has taken aim at ASADA, accusing the organisation of chasing headlines over the timing of the latest doping scandal to rock the NRL.
On Tuesday, just two days out from the season restart, ASADA revealed Sharks teenager Bronson Xerri has tested positive for banned substances and is facing a four-year suspension.
Xerri took the test on November 25 after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction in October.
Gallen, who was embroiled in the supplements scandal at the Sharks back in 2011, has accused the organisation of a delayed process for drama on the eve of the NRL season return.
“I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not a fan of ASADA due to what we went through all those years ago,” he told 2GB on Tuesday night.
“That’s all been dealt with now, but certain things I saw from ASADA back then which I’ve written in my book about, now after seeing this as well, you have to think whether ASADA are trying to create headlines.
“Are they really there for the good of the game? Are they really trying to catch people doing the wrong thing or are they just there to create headlines?”
AAP has contacted ASADA for clarification but was told it would not comment on the process.
Former ASADA boss Richard Ings attempted to explain the delay on Twitter, saying: ‘It isn’t a crazy timeline. The sample was in late 2019. It is a complicated sample with a wide variety of banned substances detected and needing confirmation at a time when Christmas, fires and then COVID were impacting”.
Xerri will have the chance to have his B-sample tested.
However, since Xerri’s test in November, the Sharks released former Test star Josh Morris to the Roosters.
Gallen says the club would not have done so if the ASADA process was completed in a timely manner.
“Had this been dealt with in November, which it probably should have been, there’s no salary cap issues, and they’ve still got a really good centre there in Josh Morris,” he said.
“They’ve now lost a really good centre in Josh Morris and Bronson Xerri.
“There’s a number of questions that need to be asked of ASADA and hopefully we can find some of those answers in the coming days.
“At no point here am I trying to justify what’s happened, if Bronson has tested positive then he’ll cop whatever punishment that is coming his way, but surely there’s got to be some questions asked of the timing of this.”