ASADA saga starts to affect the legacy of one of the NRL’s biggest stars.
Former Cronulla players and New Zealand captain Richie Barnett has slammed current Sharks skipper Paul Gallen for his part in the ASADA drugs scandal.
Barnett said that Gallen and his achievements should also be struck from the NRL records along with such punishments as being ineligible for the Dally M awards this season and a 10 week ban.
“Paul Gallen must now go down in history as a drug cheat,” Barnett wrote in the New Zealand Herald on Friday.
“Gallen’s name has no place in the record books and it would be a lack of leadership if the NRL allowed this to happen.
“I thought he epitomised what league was about; players who achieve success through hard work … now he’s tainted.
“The NRL need to take a hardline approach on the issue and send out the right message.”
Barnett also took aim at his former club saying that while he does have some fond memories from his time there, the whole episode has left a bad taste in his mouth.
“I used to play for the Sharks and it’s a club that will always hold a special place in my heart, but this whole sorry episode shows how broken and disjointed they have been and the lack of leadership,” he said.
“They clearly looked at ways they could try to bring success and improve their profile – and thereby bring in more sponsorship dollars – and were prepared to go down this road.
“It doesn’t make sense but, at the time, they must have thought the risk was worth it.”
Barnett also feared the supplement saga would tarnish players who succeeded through hard work in the future.
“I also feel for players who improve because, as a result of the actions of a few, people will now question how they did that,” he said.