Kiwis captain Simon Mannering has broken his silence on allegations some New Zealand players misused prescription drugs during last year's failed Rugby League World Cup campaign.
Last month Sunday News broke the story that the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) was investigating whether some members of the Kiwis squad had been mixing sleeping pills and energy drinks during the World Cup in England and France.
The NZRL investigation is ongoing and the board was given an update last week.
Mannering, though, in his first interview since the story broke, indicated he would be unhappy with any team-mates if they are found to have mixed the two substances.
"I don't want to go into it too much and it's been looked into by the right people, but any time you're sacrificing your performance on the field for your team mates then it could never be a good thing," Mannering said.
NZRL CEO Phil Holden said his organisation is continuing to work on the report and will go public with it in a few weeks.
"We are getting to the end of it and we've been consistent in saying that we'll be in a position to talk about it at the end of the month, when we've formally briefed the board at the monthly meeting," Holden said.
The NZRL have been in regular contact with the NRL and other sporting organisations over this issue.
"We are in discussions with the NRL on it and also Sport New Zealand and Drug Free Sport New Zealand," he said.
"The NRL have set up a task force over there and we're represented on that task force, to look at policies, procedures and the whole aspect of it. But it's not a linear issue, it's very complex and there are some real challenges in what we do and how we respond."
The mixing sleeping pills and energy drinks is thought to be a widespread issue within professional sport.
"There is no view that this is just a Kiwis issue," Holden said.
"We don't have a professional competition in New Zealand, so it's a challenge within the professional environment, so we need to be closely aligned with the NRL, which we are and, from a Sport NZ perspective, I'm very keen to talk to other CEOs, to share our insights because that might be useful," Holden said.
As for the on-field side of the World Cup, where New Zealand lost 34-2 to Australia in the final, Mannering is honest in his assessment of how it went for the Kiwis.
"Obviously for our campaign it was very disappointing to achieve so much, yet so little also.
"To get into a position to create history and then put in our worst performance of the tournament doesn't sit well with a lot of the guys and all of the coaching staff.
"It was pretty hard to put a lot of effort into a long tour and get nothing from it.
"Not taking anything away from Australia, they're an unbelievable side and played very well in the final, but for us to have a chance we had to play our best game, which we didn't do."
- Sunday News
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