The possibility of a four year ban for Xerri, one of the NRL’s brightest young stars, is very real, with the young Shark having to provide a formal submission and response to the NRL stating why he should not recieve a ban from the game.
Two possible options are now in play for the 19-year old: He can plead guilty and hope that the NRL will reduce the likelihood of a four-year ban or he can fight the charge at an NRL anti-doping hearing.
The Sharks centre has one week from Tuesday to respond to the NRL and make his next move before the NRL integrity unit decides on his fate.
In a statement released today the NRL said: “The National Rugby League (NRL) has today issued Cronulla Sharks player Bronson Xerri with a Notice of Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations under the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy.
This follows the return of a positive sample and completion of the anti-doping process administered by Sport Integrity Australia.
The Notice alleges that Mr Xerri breached the policy through the presence, use and possession of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL’s Anti-Doping Policy.
Mr Xerri was provisionally suspended from participating in any WADA compliant sport, including rugby league, on 26 May 2020 following the return of a positive sample for Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol.
Under the NRL Anti-Doping Policy, Mr Xerri now has the opportunity to respond to the matters raised in the Notice of Alleged Anti-Doping Rule Violations.
The NRL will continue to make support services available to Mr Xerri.
The NRL will not be making further comment while this process is under way.”
Xerri was stood down in March after testing positive for banned performance-enhancing substances, including androsterone and etiocholanolone, after a drug test from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on 25 November last year and his subsequent b-sample also testing positive
Cronulla have stated their annoyance at the delayed nature of the case, with 10 months now passed and still a decision yet to be made.
Xerri’s $240,000 salary continues to be paid by the Sharks despite the 19-year old currently having no involvement with the club.