Under ASADA rules, the player has the right to be in the lab to witness the sample being tested and can expect the results about a week afterwards.
Assuming it comes back positive, the case would then go to the independent Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel and Xerri would then have to choose whether to take the matter to a hearing before the NRL’s Anti-Doping Tribunal or plead no contest and accept his punishment.
As for any expectation that the results of the B-sample may not match the results of the initial test, the message from experts is that is effectively no chance.
“In the case of exogenous anabolic steroids, I’ve never seen a case where the B didn’t match the A,” said former ASADA chief executive Richard Ings.
“People look at the B-sample and say, ‘There is a chance the B might not match the A’. The main reason, though, for having a B-sample is so the player and his legal representative can be in the lab and watch the bottle be opened and make sure it’s theirs. It’s really a chance for the player to observe exactly the same process that occurred for the A sample and be satisfied that the process was followed properly.”
While the lab analysis is close to being completed with respect to Xerri, an ASADA investigation focusing on the supply of steroids led to his phone being briefly seized and scanned for data on the day he was notified of his alleged doping violation.
Former Cronulla captain Paul Gallen, meanwhile, said on Monday he was limited in what he could say about a report in the Sun-Herald he had been paid $700,000 by the Sharks to stave off him taking legal action over the peptides scandal of 2011.
“It’s a legal matter. I can’t go into it totally,” Gallen told Nine’s 100% Footy. “This was dealt with years ago when there was a large group of players who went to sue the club. I didn’t sue the club obviously. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a legal matter.”
The payout followed a settlement of a reported $1.2 million in total two years ago with fellow former Sharks Anthony Tupou, Ben Pomeroy, Albert Kelly, Scott Porter, Dean Collis, Broderick Wright, Josh Cordoba, Isaac Gordon, Paul Aiton, Nathan Gardner, Stewart Mills, Nathan Stapleton and Stuart Flanagan, who had engaged a law firm to seek compensation from Cronulla. News Corp reported at the time that one player had received $300,000 and the others had been given between $10,000 and $50,000.
Two other players who accepted backdated 12-month bans in 2014 – Wade Graham, who is now the club’s captain, and John Morris, now the head coach – are not known to have received any settlement.
Cronulla chief executive Dino Mezzatesta declined to comment.
Chris Barrett is Chief Sports Reporter of The Sydney Morning Herald.