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Sharks on front foot amid drug scandal

NZN 11/05/2017 Steve Zemek

No club has been harder hit by drugs scandals in recent times and Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has vowed the latest saga involving chairman Damian Keogh won't disrupt their NRL premiership defence.

Flanagan revealed on Thursday he and Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman had been on the front foot this week, meeting police and community leaders to discuss ways the club could help combat illicit drug use.

Flanagan said he was shocked and in disbelief after Keogh, who was at the forefront of the club's resurgence, was allegedly caught with cocaine on Friday night during a police sweep.

"It's had a massive impact on the club," admitted Flanagan.

It's the latest bad publicity blow for the Sharks after the long, damaging ASADA investigation into an illegal supplements program at the club and Ben Barba's exit following a second strike for cocaine use.

Flanagan was reluctant to discuss whether Keogh, who had stood down, could retain his job if found guilty.

"Damian has done some outstanding work over the last three years since he's been chairman but it's not a decision for me to make or speculate on," he said.

He was adamant the playing group would not allow themselves to be distracted and would be ready for Friday's derby with St George-Illawarra.

"The players are resilient; they'll get on with the job," Flanagan said.

"We've got great leadership here and great people around the club. We've got good sponsors, good supporters and we'll get on with it and we need to win tomorrow night."

The Sharks' woes come as the NRL also reels from Sydney Roosters star Shaun Kenny-Dowall being charged with drug possession and alleged illicit drug use by Kiwi Test stars Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor.

"We've got to stop looking to blame the clubs or the NRL for not educating players because they are," said Flanagan.

"It's in society, we know. The NRL is working really hard. The clubs are working really hard on all these matters."

Flanagan believed the club should serve a positive role in drug education in their area.

"We've got a position in this community that puts us above everyone else. We can help - we have a lot of access to people through sport."

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