Five former Cronulla Sharks players have received sanctions for breaches of the game’s anti-doping rules during the 2011 season, the NRL announced on Thursday.
The NRL released a statement saying the former Sharks – Paul Aiton, Colin Best, Stuart Flanagan, Ben Pomeroy and John Williams – had received reduced suspensions of 12 months on the basis “that they bore no significant fault in the breaches”.
The player’s suspensions were also backdated for a period between six and nine months owing to the length of the investigation – with each suspension having now expired.
The sanctions were the last to be imposed after the investigation of breaches of the anti-doping rules during the 2011 season which saw a total of 17 players sanctioned.
Cronulla’s 2016 premiership winners Paul Gallen and Wade Graham along with 2011 Sharks teammates Nathan Gardner, Anthony Tupou, Jeremy Smith, Kade Snowden, Albert Kelly, Luke Douglas, John Morris, Josh Cordoba, Broderick Wright and Matthew Wright all accepted an ASADA deal in August 2014 that resulted in a 12-month ban, backdated to November 2013, for their involvement in the supplements program at the club in 2011.
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was also banned for a year in March 2014 for his role in the program.