Banned Cronulla coach's NRL future uncertain

Last updated 19:23 23/08/2014
Shane Flanagan
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IN HOT WATER: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan may face more sanctions after players admitted to doping.

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Banned Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan's future in the NRL is uncertain after 12 players under his control at the Sharks during the 2011 season accepted doping bans on Friday.

Flanagan is serving a 12-month ban from the NRL over governance issues arising from the Sharks' 2011 supplements programme.

That ban is due to expire next month, but NRL boss Dave Smith indicated on Saturday Flanagan could face further sanctions from Asada as a result of its 18-month investigation into the Sharks.

Flanagan is undergoing an education programme with the NRL as part of his ban.

''Coach Flanagan is going through a process to make sure that he understands his responsibilities, if we are to bring him back into the game,'' Smith said.

''We took strong action against coach Flanagan. We suspended him for 12 months, with the option to come back in nine, and there is a strong process under way where we will take into consideration all of the facts.

''And coach Flanagan, one of his undertakings as part of this process, he has to clearly demonstrate to us that he understands the responsibilities of a head coach.

''Anybody, any administrator, anyone that has a responsibility for player welfare in our game, are the ones that we are going to target and we are going to harden much more around the way that the game is managed and the people that are involved with our athletes.''

Supercoach Wayne Bennett laid the blame for the Sharks' ill-fated supplements program on Flanagan on Friday after 12 current and past Sharks players accepted backdated 12-month bans having unwittingly taking banned substances.

Smith said Asada was set to further examine Flanagan's involvement in the doping regime as a result of the admissions.

''Asada will look at the evidence as it stands from an anti-doping perspective and they will consider all elements and, if that results in anybody with a duty of care having further charges laid against them from an anti-doping perspective, then that will take place,'' he said.

''That process is under way.

''It will happen in the background based upon the evidence that we find ourselves with today.

''What it means is Asada will look across the evidence, and  anybody who has been responsible for a duty of care with the players, who has had a responsibility directly with the players, if there are any implications, of course you would expect Asada to take action.''

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Banned trainer Trent Elkin is also likely to come under further  scrutiny from Asada.

- AAP

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