Cronulla Sharks could be without their skipper for the rest of the NRL season.
The Cronulla Sharks have confirmed they could be without captain Paul Gallen for their clash against the Canberra Raiders this weekend if he takes ASADA’s plea deal.
Gallen and 17 other current and former Sharks players were given a “show-cause” notice which sees them forced to either take a one year penalty or fight the charges of doping.
if Gallen or any other players take the early plea the suspension will be the equivalent of 10 weeks due to it being backdated, but such players would not be available to from this weekend onwards for the rest of the 2014 NRL season.
The other five players named on Tuesday that face immediate bans are Anthony Tupou (Sharks), Jeremy Smith, Kade Snowden (Knights), Luke Douglas (Titans) and Matthew Wright (Cowboys).
However, if the players choose to fight the allegations, they have 10 days to respond to show cause notices and will be free to play until final verdicts in the saga are reached.
None of the other 11 players charged by ASADA will affect NRL action this week.
Wade Graham (foot) is out for the season. Nathan Gardner (Sharks) and Albert Kelly (Tweed) have been named for feeder teams. Stuart Flanagan (Appin) plays in the local Campbelltown competition. Ben Pomeroy (Catalans Dragons), Paul Aiton (Leeds Rhinos) and Josh Cordoba (London Broncos) are playing Super League. Colin Best, John Morris, John Williams and Broderick Wright have retired.
If he took the plea deal, Gallen would next be eligible to play in Australia’s second Four Nations clash against England at AAMI Stadium on November 2.