Paul Gallen has accused the NRL of taking a
Paul Gallen has accused the NRL of taking a "softly softly' approach to use of illicit drugs. PAUL MILLER

Gallen wants 2-year ban for drug use

CRONULLA captain Paul Gallen has called for automatic two-year bans to be imposed on NRL players who test positive to illicit drugs, in the wake of the Tim Simona betting scandal.

Deregistered from the NRL last Friday for betting on more than 60 games, Simona confessed to becoming a regular cocaine user after being introduced to the drug at Mad Monday celebrations three years ago.

"If they want to really deter it (drug use), make it illegal (under NRL rules)," Sharks captain Gallen told Sky Sports Radio yesterday.

"It's illegal in general society. We've got this softly softly approach ... just make it illegal all the time.

"I think it will deter people a whole lot more from taking the risk of taking it over the weekend."

Gallen (pictured) said the NRL should abandon the three-strike illicit-drugs policy in favour of a zero-tolerance approach.

At present, a player receives a suspended fine and is not named for their first positive return in random testing.

A second positive test results in a 12-match suspension - the punishment handed to Gallen's 2016 premiership-winning teammate Ben Barba before his defection to French rugby union this year.

Third-time offenders are referred to the NRL hierarchy for an "appropriate sanction".

In an interview with News Corp, Simona revealed he had never tested positive in random testing and said he believed the drug would be out of his system by Monday if he took if on Friday.

Testing should have been done more regularly, Gallen suggested on Sky Sports.

News Corp Australia

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