Todd Carney's sacking and the resignation of Cronulla coach Peter Sharp can be directly linked to the crippling effect the ASADA investigation is having on the Sharks, according to NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle.
On another tumultuous day for the embattled Sharks, Doyle said it was ''completely unacceptable'' that the ASADA saga had spanned 18 months and this had contributed to the crisis Cronulla were in - on and off the field.
Although Carney has a long track record for alcohol-related incidents, it's been reported that the 28-year-old fell back into bad habits since Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan was suspended from his post over the club's 2011 supplement programme.
However, more to the point, Doyle said the ASADA issue played a part in Carney's sacking because the Sharks had been left desperate to find major sponsors as a result of continual bad press over the drug probe.
Interim coach Peter Sharp's decision to resign, announced on Tuesday, came just a week after captain Paul Gallen said players were under the impression he wasn't giving 100 per cent.
Doyle said ASADA's seemingly endless investigation had led to Cronulla's implosion.
''Without a doubt - you can't go through something (without it having an effect). The club are no doubt going out trying to sign sponsors, and this is something that's been hanging over their head,'' Doyle said.
''No doubt (that played) a factor in the decision they made based on the picture that came out on Saturday.
''No doubt for them, it's hard to get sponsors etc and it's why they want to change the culture of the organisation.
''We've said right from the start it's completely unacceptable. We push ASADA on a continuous basis that we want to get this resolved as soon as we can. They have a lot of process they need to go through and it's outside our control. But we push them every single day to get a result.''
Doyle said he felt for Sharks chief executive Steve Noyce, and maintained he would have made the same decision to sack Carney if he was head of a NRL club - as he will be next year when he heads to the Warriors.
However, he doesn't believe the Sharks are on the brink of collapse.
''It's trying times for them but they'll continue to work through and be a stronger club at the end of it,'' he said.
Doyle stuck by his original stance that it would be ''highly unlikely'' that the NRL would register another contract for Carney, but admitted you would ''never say never''.
The demand for a quality half is always strong and Carney is a Dally M medal winner as well as a NSW and Australian representative.
However, Doyle believes clubs will look elsewhere when searching for playmakers.
''I think there's more quality halfbacks playing in NYC (national youth competition), the NSW Cup and the Queensland Cup coming through to the future who may have not been fired by three different clubs,'' Doyle said.
''At the end of the day, we cannot keep just allowing players to do those sorts of things and think it's acceptable.''
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