No positive Manly tests, questions unanswered

MICHAEL CHAMMAS
Last updated 13:05 13/02/2013

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The Manly Sea Eagles were on Tuesday told none of their players had tested positive to illegal substances.

Sea Eagles chief executive David Perry and chairman Scott Penn met with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on Tuesday afternoon and were informed that, while the club remained under investigation, none of their players - past or present - had tested positive.

The Sea Eagles confirmed it in a statement released on Tuesday night.

Manly were one of six clubs under investigation that met with ASADA officials on Tuesday but there remain more questions than answers just three weeks out from the start of the season.

Perry said ''it could take up to two to three months'' before any players are named, leaving a huge question mark over the upcoming season.

While players weren't named in the briefings on Tuesday, each of the six clubs was given severity ratings based on how deep their club was embroiled in investigations.

Perry admitted the club's association with the investigations was disappointing for all the Sea Eagles' stakeholders, but was comforted by the fact Manly weren't classed in a high severity category.

''It's not ideal for members and sponsors but as I said before from the club's point of view, we're in the low to medium risk and we have faith in what we've done in the past as far as our processes,'' Perry said.

''Our protocols have been above board and we'll support everything they need to do to get the outcomes they require.''

North Queensland were shocked when they received a phone call from NRL chief executive David Smith on Monday night to inform them of their involvement in investigations, but the Cowboys believe they don't have a lot to worry about.

The club is confident it will escape from the ordeal relatively unscathed.

''I'm as confident as before we went into the meeting in the processes we have at our club and the players we have at our club,'' Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said. Asked if the club fell into a low risk category, he said: ''We're lower.''

Canberra's shattered chief executive Don Furner left the meeting clearly disappointed with his club's involvement but said they were told of ''isolated'' cases at the Raiders. He later told Fairfax Media the Raiders were in the ''low'' severity category and would meet with ASADA, which is based in Canberra, later this week.

Cronulla were unable to be contacted on Tuesday. The Sharks go into the start of the season without a major sponsor or a stadium sponsor and are now burdened by the Australian Crime Commission's findings.

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Sharks chairman Damian Irvine posted a tweet on Tuesday evening which said: ''I, or the club cannot and will not comment on the ASADA investigation.''

Penrith and Newcastle did not provide a severity rating before the Herald went to print on Tuesday night.

Panthers boss Phil Gould, who was part of a group meeting between the six clubs and ASADA before an individual briefing, admitted it would be ''a long and drawn-out process''.

''I've been well informed of what they are looking at and how long this process will take and how serious it is,'' Gould said.

Perry said the Sea Eagles would await instruction from ASADA, rather than the NRL, in dealing with the matter. Manly agreed to put forward any player under examination to assist in their ongoing investigation.

''We'll be working with ASADA directly and they'll advise us ahead of time in conjunction of the players they want to have a chat to,'' Perry said.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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