12 January, 2016 10:45
IMRAN GASHKORI | Sports Editor | CONTACT
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s been three years since the first revelations of a massive cross-code performance enhancing drug syndicate in Australian sport.
Today the Court Of Arbitration For Sport handed down its judgement to those found guilty in the AFL. 34 Essendon players have been found guilty, of them, 12 remain at the club and will have to endure an entire season ban.
In the NRL, however, an arguably more uncouth sporting code, it seems those found guilty of using illegal performance enhancing drugs at the Cronulla Sharks were let off quite lightly.
A full-season suspension for Essendon players and only a three-game ban for Cronulla footballers?
Legal commentators put this down to rugby league’s inherent ability to avoid giving too much information to investigators.
The Cronulla supplements program began a year earlier than Essendon’s. That was before the controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank left Cronulla in April 2011, to begin work in the AFL at the end of that season – where he quickly began administering the same illegal supplements to the Bomber’s players.
Why hasn’t Cronulla, led by their fearless captain/self-admitted drug cheat Paul Gallen, had the book thrown at them?
Well, according to sports psychologist, Keiran Setefano, Cronulla and the rest of the rugby league have been aided by the strict “No Snitching” policy that exists within the NRL.
“What we’ve found is that when AFL players are put before the stand, they tend to sing like canaries,”
“Leagueys are a different breed. Most of them have escaped a life of crime by becoming professional athletes, so naturally they harbour a much better ability to deal with the fuzz.”
Mr Setefano believes that while AFL players are just as talented as rugby league players, their loyalty can be tested when faced with legal repercussions. This is not the case for a majority of rugby league players.
“I’m not saying that AFL players aren’t clubmen, but yes, when put in front of investigators or policemen… AFL players will give out more names than Ashley Maddison,”
“Rugby league players tend to treat these kind of investigations with a bit more loyalty. Even something as trivial as ‘pooing in a shoe’ is hushed up,”
“It’s not hard to see the anti-authority culture that has infiltrated the NRL, but that’s a just a result of the demographics. AFL players are better at perusing wine lists, NRL players are better at dealing with the good cop/bad cop routine.”