Reports: Paul Gallen has taken ASADA deal
CRONULLA Captain Paul Gallen is one of 10 current NRL players to accept an ASADA deal resulting in a year-long ban, but back-dated to November last year for their involvement in the Sharks' supplement program.
The program was run at the club throughout 2011.
Earlier, Fairfax reported that "up to 12" current and former Sharks had accepted the deal.
There were also reports Gallen had declined to accept the offer, but new information suggests that was incorrect.
What else is making news:
Cronulla's Nathan Gardner, Wade Graham and Anthony Tupou are believed to have also taken the deal, along with Newcastle's Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden, Titans pair Luke Douglas and Albert Kelly, plus North Queensland centre Matthew Wright, according to Fairfax.
Each will miss only three games, with the exception of Gallen, Smith and Wright would also be excluded from the upcoming Four Nations tournament.
The morning deadline was missed as lawyers scrutinised a guarantee that the World Anti-Doping Authority would not later overturn the bans.
This morning, the Sharks' posted something of a call-to-arms ahead of their clash with the Raiders on Sunday:
What do you think about the punishment offered by ASADA?
This poll ended on 22 September 2014.
Should have been harsher. It's a 12-month ban that only really affects three games
I think it's a fair deal for both sides
Over-the-top, ruling out Gallen from the Four Nations is unacceptable
I don't know enough to comment
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
EARLIER: Paul Gallen reluctant to admit he's a drug cheat
A DEFIANT Cronulla captain Paul Gallen could force ASADA's hand today by refusing to admit he is a drug cheat.
Gallen has steadfastly maintained he has never taken any illegal or illicit substances and is reluctant to accept a back-dated deal by the anti-doping drug agency that would clear him to play in the end-of-year Four Nations Championship provided he is willing to tarnish his reputation.
The offer put to 17 past and present Cronulla players by ASADA of a 12-month suspension back-dated until November 2013 means players have to admit to taking drugs and accept the deal by 9.30am today to allow the necessary paper work to be completed for the players to be suspended immediately.
Any player taking the offer will be suspended immediately.
Some players are expected to take ASADA's guilty enticement.
However, there were reports emerging after the deadline passed on Friday morning that players may ask for more time.
Nine News reported last night that most of the Cronulla Sharks 2011 team will accept a deal offered to them by ASADA.
The two players who are yet to come to a decision are believed to be Gallen and Albert Kelly.
Gallen has indicated he will continue to fight for his innocence in a bid to avoid the slur of being called a drug cheat.
"It's your reputation," he said this week when ASADA announced its findings following an 18-month probe.
"It's what I've built over the last 15-plus years in training full-time and getting to where I've got to in the game.
"That's tarnished now already, but if we do this we're going to be labelled a drug cheat, no matter what."
The victorious NSW Origin captain has taken a strong stance throughout ASADA investigation.
There's a train of thought ASADA may not have sufficient evidence to proceed or substantiate cases against the players and Gallen may call their bluff.
If he and other players take on the doping watchdog and individual cases end up in courts, things could drag on well into 2015.
The Essendon AFL club is still fighting for it's case against ASADA in court.
Players accepting ASADA's offer today will effectively serve just three weeks' suspension, unless they are part of a team which plays finals football.
It's an extremely lenient penalty given the mandatory two year bans imposed on swimmers and athletes found guilty of using banned substances.
The Sharks players closed ranks yesterday at training although the five players named by ASADA did not take part in the session before Sunday's wooden spoon battle with Canberra.