Cronulla captain Wade Graham has expressed his sympathy for the plight of Bronson Xerri as the Sharks young gun gets closer to learning his fate from Australia’s anti-doping authorities.
Xerri has been provisionally suspended since late last month after it was revealed he had tested positive to a cocktail of performance-enhancing substances.
A B-sample is set to be tested on Tuesday, and another positive result will almost certainly lead to a four-year ban for the 19-year-old.
Graham said he has yet to speak to Xerri, but his thoughts are with his troubled teammate.
“It’s definitely difficult. He’s a young bloke going through a difficult time at the moment,” Graham said.
“To be honest I don’t think he really wanted to talk to too many people at the start. It’s certainly a challenging time for him.
“He’s got his family around him. The club officials have been in contact with him.”
Xerri tested positive to the banned substances exogenous Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol following a targeted visit to his house by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) testers last November.
The B-sample test was expected to be undertaken at a Sydney laboratory on Tuesday, with results anticipated in approximately one week’s time.
If positive, Xerri will have to either plead no contest and accept his punishment or take the matter to a hearing before the NRL’s anti-doping tribunal.
“He’s just going through that process now and where that lands, at this stage, I’m still unsure,” Graham said.