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NRL vows to come down hard on drug users

NZN 6/05/2017 Steve Zemek and Scott Bailey

NRL boss Todd Greenberg has vowed to come down hard on anyone flouting drug rules after the game was dragged into three cocaine scandals in the space of 48 hours.

The futures of Cronulla chairman Damian Keogh and high-profile stars Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor hang in the balance after separate incidents over the last two days.

Keogh has already stepped down from his post at the Sharks, while the New Zealand Rugby League confirmed they had been made aware of an alleged incident involving Kiwis captain Bromwich and teammate Proctor following their 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, including two current NRL players. No one else has been arrested over the matter.

Both incidents came a day after Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall was charged over possession of an prohibited substance, alleged to be cocaine, at a Sydney nightclub.

Greenberg cut a frustrated and disappointed figure after the game copped yet another black eye and the incidents took the limelight off the representative round.

While the NRL integrity unit is still investigating the incidents, he said he would come down with the full force of the rulebook on anyone who was found to have taken an illicit substance.

"I don't think you'd be critical of us for not coming down hard on issues in the last 12 months and we'll do exactly the same thing," Greenberg said.

He denied the game had a problem with cocaine despite the three incidents coming in a short time span.

"I don't think the game's got any bigger problem than what society has in confronting these sorts of challenges," Greenberg said.

"We've got hundreds of young men inside the rugby league network, we do a huge amount of education, a huge amount of testing, we're still going to have issues, that's the realistic nature of the way we do our business."

Keogh was arrested in Woolloomooloo on Friday night when he was allegedly found with a small resealable bag containing a quantity of white powder during a police search.

He is due to face Downing Centre Local Court on June 30, and was in a distressed state on Saturday morning according to Cronulla chief executive Lyall Gorman.

Gorman was also forced to defend allegations of a drug problem at the club after fullback Ben Barba was released at the end of last season after testing positive for a second time to cocaine.

"I don't believe it is endemic at all," Gorman said.

Meanwhile neither Melbourne nor the Gold Coast were ready to make a call on Bromwich and Proctor respectively as investigations continued.

A spokesperson for ACT Police told AAP the man they charged on Friday night had allegedly supplied drugs to two players inside the Cube Nightclub.

Greenberg had a blunt message for any player who might be tempted by illicit drugs.

"The message is simple and I say it to my own teenage children when they go out - make good choices," he said.

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