Former Shark worries about Cronulla's stress levels
RUGBY league nice guy Ben Ross expressed his concerns about the welfare of Cronulla players as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation into the NRL club took another twist yesterday.
The former Nambour Crusher (pictured) said current and former Sharks players were dealing with high levels of stress while the anti-drug body investigated the embattled Sydney club.
"I hate seeing my mates go through it - it's not something you'd wish on anyone," he said. "It's been going on for nearly two years now and I wish they (ASADA) would just come out with whatever they have and be done with it."
Ross, regarded as one of the league's most likeable characters, finished his career at the Shire in 2013 after two stints and six seasons with the club.
He was not at Cronulla in 2011 - the season at the centre of the scandal - but was part of the team in 2013, when news of ASADA's investigation rocked the side and caused major changes in the coaching ranks.
"The thing I'm most worried about is that I see the stress that these boys are under," Ross said.
Captain Paul Gallen said in June that he and his wife had delayed having a third child because of the stress of the investigation.
Ross said: "This has been going on nearly two years now - you've got to worry about the welfare of the players."
The saga took another turn yesterday when ASADA issued five current Sharks and 12 former players with show-cause notices following the 16-month investigation into the club's 2011 supplements program.
The investigation - which led to the suspension of coach Shane Flanagan and the sacking of several staff members from the 2011 regime - centres around the alleged use of prohibited peptides CJC-1295 and GHRP-6.
In a statement yesterday, ASADA said the players and former players had 10 days to lodge a submission.
Cronulla released a statement saying the players had been offered "a proposal regarding a possible suspension", and captain Paul Gallen told a Sydney radio station that players were hesitant to accept any deal.
He said accepting a deal would imply guilt - which the players had always denied.
More about the potential sanctions facing Cronulla players, Page 41