Michael Jennings’ doping scandal rocked the Eels on the eve of their semi-final defeat to the Rabbitohs, with Sports Integrity Australia set to interview the Parramatta veteran in grand final week.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Jennings will fight to clear his name as the SIA look to conduct an investigation for a positive drug test in the NRL for the second time this season.
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Sharks centre Bronson Xerri was provisionally suspend in May and will face the code’s anti-doping tribunal this month, while Jennings’ case has been fast-tracked to the coming weeks.
The SIA confiscated Jennings’ phone and computer on Saturday after he returned a positive reading for band substances Ligandrol and Ibutamoren.
Jennings will be able to undergo a B-sample test and provide meaning for the banned substances to be within his system.
If Jennings is able to provide no significant fault or prove there to be mitigating factors, he could have the mandatory four-year ban reduced to a reprimand or face up to a two-year suspension.
Like Cronulla with Xerri, Parramatta could be given salary cap dispensation backdated once Jennings’ case is underway, with the Eels set to provide support to their veteran.
Jennings is contracted with the club next season, meaning the Eels will give their centre a financial backing for 2021.
Whether Parramatta are given a replacement position on their roster will be decided in the coming months.
Jennings’ lawyer, Ben Ihle, represented the Essendon players during their supplements saga as well as ASADA in the past.
Ihle declined to comment on Sunday.
Following the broken news on the weekend, Jennings said he will fight to clear his name.
“I am totally against any form of cheating in sport and am completely shocked to find myself in this position,” Jennings said.
“I will do everything I can to clear my name. I have dedicated the last 14 years of my life to playing in the NRL. I would never do anything to jeopardise my standards, my reputation, or the legacy I leave, especially for my son.
“This is a really difficult time for me and my family, but I will work with Sport Integrity Australia to progress this case and clear my name.”