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‘Substantial assistance’: How Bronson Xerri can escape four-year ban

“If a player provides substantial assistance to the investigators, the authority [ASADA, NRL] may consider the consequences of the matter, including sanctions,” Fuller told the Herald.

“It’s always in the best interest of the player to co-operate fully with ASADA and provide complete and credible assistance.

“Only athletes are subject to testing, but other participants can commit a rule violation through possession, supply of prohibited substances or prohibited association.

“Players are encouraged, under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy, to co-operate in any NRL or ASADA investigation.”

Under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy, an athlete could qualify for a reduced sanction if assistance results in “discovering or bringing forward an anti-doping rule violation by another person, or which results in a criminal or disciplinary body discovering or bringing forward a criminal offence or the breach of professional rules committed by another person and the information provided by the person providing substantial assistance is made available to the anti-doping organisation with results management responsibility.”

Embattled Cronulla star Bronson Xerri.

Embattled Cronulla star Bronson Xerri.Credit:NRL Photos

Otago University professor of physiology Alison Heather said, assuming the administration was deliberate, she she was “100 per cent” certain Xerri would have relied on the advice of someone else, given the cocktail of prohibited substances he tested positive for.

“If you take testosterone and don’t take the metabolites, the metabolites will fall and be really low, so he’s tried to cover up the fact he is taking testosterone by taking the metabolites,” Heather said.

“So he wants to pee them out really fast and get them out of his urine. You can’t tell me a 19-year-old kid knows how to do that. He’s got outside help … and if you talk to any endocrinologist they will tell you the same thing.”

Former World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey believes the Sharks should have been more aware of the risks of taking prohibited substances than any other club after the peptides scandal of 2011.

“If there is to be an awareness at any rugby league club, one would have expected for that awareness to surface at a club that was previously in strife,” Fahey told the Herald.

“In rugby league that was Cronulla and in AFL that was Essendon. One would have thought that Cronulla players were far more conscious of the downside of breaching the code than any of the other clubs because of past experience.”

Former NSW premier Fahey, who headed up WADA from 2008-2013, said there were provisions for athletes to reduce their sentence under certain circumstances.

“There are some benefits for the athlete who gives substantial assistance to bring others to the notice of the controlling body,” Fahey said.

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“That could be in the background there, but that’s not something ASADA would normally release or say to anybody.

“Sometimes they are more than happy not to say anything in the public arena as they see how widespread the drug may be. Frequently that information comes from the person whose sample has proven to be positive.”

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