League player stood down in drug probe

Last updated 21:27 11/02/2013

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A lower grader from NRL club South Sydney has reportedly been stood down as part of an investigation into allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs.

The Nine Network today claimed Curtis Johnston, who plays for the Rabbitohs' NSW Cup feeder club North Sydney Bears and has yet to play in the NRL, was at the centre of an investigation following a series of damning text messages.

It is not yet clear if the drama surrounding Johnston is linked to the Australian Crime Commission's report claiming widespread drug use through Australian sport.

The ACC today said both the NRL and AFL were free to inform the clubs that were under investigation as part of Project Aperio, but the NRL has not yet given any indication as to whether it had done so.

Yesterday the NRL released a statement saying it was still attempting to clarify the mechanism by which it could inform clubs, and hoped to do so within the following 48 hours.

The Nine Network claimed it had secured possession of a series of text messages from Johnston boasting about his use of banned substances.

It is believed Johnston claimed the text messages were a joke.

Bears boss Greg Florimo claimed the outside back had never returned a positive drugs test.

"He's been here for the last five years, he's tested at least five or six times with ASADA and has come back negative every time," Florimo said.

New South Wales Rugby League boss Geoff Carr confirmed to News Limited that a player had been stood down following an allegation of illicit drug use.

"There's been an allegation and the club has been cautious and stood the player down," Carr said.

"There has been no positive test."

Carr declined to confirm the player or the club involved in the investigation.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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