Cronulla legend Paul Gallen has accused ASADA of attempting to “create headlines” after the organisation told the NRL that Bronson Xerri had tested positive for a perforce-enhancing drug six months after the test.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone from the club to be honest, but when I found out it was taken in November and it was released today you start asking questions,” Gallen said on WWOS Radio.
“Don’t ASADA have a duty of care? Or don’t the NRL have a duty of care towards the competition?”
Gallen was one of the 10 Cronulla players who were given backdated bans by ASADA in 2014.
The 38-year-old labeled the organisation as “demeaning and amateurish” in his autobiography, recalling on ASADA’s approach to blood testing in 2012.
“At the time, ASADA’s sample-taking process bordered on insulting and ridiculous,” Gallen wrote.
“The entire process was anything but professional; in fact, it was demeaning and amateurish.”
Gallen questioned the timing of the news that surrounds Xerri, asking if the organisation held off on revealing the results in time to later cause a stain on the league.
“I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not a fan of ASADA through what we went through all those years ago, but that’s been dealt with,” he said.
“But certain things I saw by ASADA back then, which I’ve written in my book about and now after seeing this as well you have to think, are ASADA trying to create headlines? Are they really there for the good of the game? Are they really trying to catch people doing the wrong thing or are they just there to create headlines?”
Gallen’s biggest frustration with ASADA is the timing of Xerri’s test and the departure of centre Josh Morris, with the Sharks perhaps able to keep Morris if they had known about Xerri’s test earlier.
“The other question I need to ask and I’m sure the Sharks will be asking as a club, is that this happened in November as we know, they released Josh Morris in March, April to go to the Roosters.
“Had this been dealt with in November, as it probably should have been, there’s no salary cap issues. They still have a really good centre there in Josh Morris.
“Now they’ve lost Josh Morris and Bronson Xerri so there’s a number of questions that need to be asked of ASADA and hopefully we can find some of those answers in the coming days.”
Gallen also touched on Xerri’s chances of playing in round two of the season and that ASADA’s knowledge may have been held off for the right time.
“Let me tell you, I know first hand Bronson Xerri was within a day or two of playing Round 2, he well and truly could have played Round 2,” he said.
“If he went out onto that field and hurt someone on that field because he was enhanced, does that person then have a right to come back at ASADA or the NRL and sue them because they were hurt?”
Dragons forward James Graham has joined Gallen in unleashing on ASADA due to the delay of the organisation’s announcement.
“Personally, I’ve probably got more questions for ASADA than I have for Bronson Xerri at the moment,” Graham said.
“I’m struggling to get my head around how they let a player who’s provided a positive test potentially play for six months.
“I know you guys spoke about it earlier on the show but I’m dumbfounded. I’ve have plenty of questions for ASADA before I spoke to (Bronson).”