Sonny Bill Williams and his Sydney Roosters team mates have been unknowingly subject to Human Growth Hormone testing - with an aspiring Kiwi star among six players returning elevated HGH levels at the NRL minor premiers.
Rising New Zealand star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been named in Australian media as being among players named as returning elevated readings for the banned substance after a sports nutrition company was hired to provide blood profiles of players in preparation for detox diets.
The Sydney Roosters have admitted the sports nutrition company, Nubodi, run by a Sydney identity with links to organised crime, Sean Carolan, have been sacked.
Details of the blood test results have been found on Carolan's phone which has been seized by law enforcement officers.
The information has since been referred to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
The Roosters' chief operating officer, Brian Canavan, said the tests were conducted without the Roosters' consent and six players returned elevated levels. The Sydney Morning Herald named three of them as being Tongan forward Sam Moa, Tuivasa-Sheck and Boyd Cordner.
''We were very unhappy that the extended testing was conducted. It was done without our knowledge. The players underwent the test without knowledge or consent," Canavan said.
However, Canavan said the trio had been re-tested by the club's medical staff and the blood tests did not return elevated levels of HGH.
Rooster's chairman Nick Politis said it was common for ''Islanders to spike up with HGH'' and that both the club's testing and ASADA's testing throughout the year had not uncovered any questionable readings.
But it was not until mid-year the Roosters informed the NRL's integrity unit of the involvement of Nubodi and the elevated HGH blood test results.
Roosters' prop Martin Kennedy is understood to have provided Nubodi's Carolan with an introduction to the club.
''Nubodi is basically a guy who is a personal trainer in the city. He trains David Williams at the moment. He's a really good guy, he's got all these different training philosophies and he came in and did a detox thing with the Roosters and that's it,'' Kennedy told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Carolan said he took blood readings of the Roosters to determine how best to improve their diet. While their growth hormone levels varied, he denied this was a result of administering HGH.
''Absolutely not. You've got to be kidding,'' he said.
''On blood results you could have some guys with really, really low natural growth hormone levels and some guys with naturally high growth hormone levels. Those ranges on a blood test are exactly that, they are a range. It all varies.
''A few of the boys had high growth hormones levels on their results but to actually say it was from taking an actual growth hormone or not, I wouldn't know anything about that personally.''
The Sydney Morning Herald reports ASADA are \interested in Ben Darcy, a former employee of Carolan's, who is currently in Thailand.
Carolan said he fired Darcy last year. He said Mr Darcy had been an employee for about six months and he was unaware if players had been in contact with him after he left.
''I've got no idea what Ben was doing or what he was involved in, I don't know. I had nothing to do with that personally,'' he said.
Asked why they parted company, he said: ''He wasn't performing, he was unreliable.''
Complaints about the company have included that it offered growth hormones to it customers trying to lose weight.
Carolan, 39, also has another company called Advanced Peptide Solutions.
Nubodi's office in George Street, Sydney, was empty on Wednesday and neighbours said that Carolan had moved out from the premises about three weeks ago.
Another good friend of Carolan's is former Canberra winger Sandor Earl, who also played for the Roosters.
''The bloke from Nubodi... he's a mate of Sandor's, I'm a mate of Sandor's, Sandor's in trouble,'' Kennedy said on Wednesday.
Earl, 23, has been telling ASADA all he knows about drug use in the NRL after he was charged with using and trafficking banned peptides. He is facing a possible life ban for trafficking.Earl has made several trips to Thailand to visit Darcy, who used to play grade football for the Roosters.
Asked if he was concerned Darcy had provided players with performance-enhancing substances, Carolan said: ''I'm not aware of his movements after we parted company.''
Possession and use of HGH is illegal in Australia. The drug can be prescribed to patients with growth defects.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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