Lingering anti-drug probe is taking its toll on the side’s performance.
The Cronulla Sharks will be desperate to earn some positive press about them as they travel to take on the Newcastle Knights at Hunter Stadium this weekend.
After having the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority dropped a bombshell on them on the eve of the season, the Sharks have struggled to perform consistently on the field.#
Press conferences, innuendo and team meetings have taken up as much time for the side as preparing for their next game.
And the toll is beginning to show.
After starting the season on fire in spite of the ASADA drug probe, the weight of the investigation for each player to carry has been getting heavier with every passing week.
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen accused ASADA of playing by their own rules, as interviews with Cronulla players were suspended for the second time in a week, due to legal wrangling.
“I know I was going to be scheduled for a meeting. I still haven’t been told when mine was supposed to be so all bets are off at the moment as far as ASADA are concerned apparently,” Gallen said.
“I obviously don’t know what went on in the meeting but apparently they weren’t happy and basically they said, `that’s it. We’re postponing until further notice’.
“They’re running their own rules at the moment. They don’t seem to have anyone to answer to and they’re doing what they want and there’s not a lot we can do about it.”
Newcastle have made several changes ahead of the game with late withdrawal Neville Costigan returns in the only change to personnel.
Interestingly, Tyrone Roberts has been named halfback and Kurt Gidley hooker, despite Gidley playing No. 7 last week, pushing Roberts to the bench.
While for the Sharks Sam Tagataese is the only addition as 18th man.
KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Kurt Gidley (capt), Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon, Chris Houston. Interchange: Travis Waddell, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo, Korbin Sims (one to be omitted).
SHARKS: Michael Gordon, Nathan Stapleton, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Paul Gallen (capt). Interchange: Chris Heighington, Jayson Bukuya, Isaac De Gois, Anthony Tupou, Sam Tagataese (one to be omitted).