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NRL considers boosting drug testing regime

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/05/2017 Steve Zemek

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg © Brendon Thorne/Getty Images NRL CEO Todd Greenberg NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has flagged boosting the game's illicit drugs testing regime after it was floored by three cocaine scandals in 48 hours.

The futures of Cronulla chairman Damian Keogh, Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, New Zealand skipper Jesse Bromwich and Gold Coast back-rower Kevin Proctor are up in the air after they were embroiled in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday.

Despite the three incidents coming in a short time span, Greenberg denied the game had a problem with illicit drugs.

He said the game's players and administrators were educated enough to know better and described the game's testing regime as thorough, though suggested they could do more to root out offenders.

"Can we do more testing, can we do more education? Yes we can," Greenberg said.

"We do a hell of a lot of them. There'd be no rugby league player that would not be well-educated on drugs.

"If you take drugs you take massive risks, with your health but more importantly you take massive risks for your livelihood inside rugby league. We won't stand for it."

The saga has taken attention away from the on-field action during the representative round and Greenberg was frustrated at being forced to address the media outside Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night, where the Pacific Test triple-header was being played.

"I'm really disappointed," Greenberg said.

"We've got some negative headlines today, this is a weekend we plan a long time for and rep weekend is important to us. But they're allegations and we're doing to make sure we get to the bottom of them."

Keogh has stepped down from his post at the Sharks after he was arrested at a Woolloomooloo pub on Friday night allegedly in possession of a small resealable bag containing a white substance. He will face court next month.

The New Zealand Rugby League confirmed they had been made aware of an alleged incident involving Bromwich and Proctor following the Kiwis' Test loss to Australia in Canberra on Friday night.

ACT Police have charged a man over the possession and supply of a drug of dependence. He is alleged to have sold the drug to two current NRL players.

It came a day after Kenny-Dowall was allegedly caught with just under half a gram of cocaine at a Sydney nightclub.

The NRL integrity unit is investigating all three incidents and Greenberg promised stiff repercussions.

"There must be consequences for actions and poor decisions ultimately cost people livelihoods in the game," Greenberg said.

"We do a huge amount of education, we do a huge amount of testing. We're still going to have issues. That's the realistic nature of the way we do our business. But we're no different to the rest of society."

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