Former rugby league coach and respected Fairfax journalist Roy Masters published a story about the Sharks regarding their recent fine and subsequent coach ban.
He writes that March 20, 2011 was the catalyst that led to the ASADA fallout. It was a training session that was missing captain Paul Gallen where a new supplement program was to be introduced by coach Shane Flanagan and trainer Troy Elkin.
When Paul Gallen enquired two days after the meeting discussing the program, Masters alleges that club doctor David Givney consulted mastermind Stephen Dank to ask what made up the supplements. He goes on to say that Shane Flanagan is guilty of not making enough enquiries before Dank was sacked on May 29, 2011.
Earlier, on April 7, 2011, an email from football manager Darren Mooney to Flanagan said, ”The doc’s got concerns. He believes Trent Elkin is not telling the truth.” Elkin had clashed with Dr Givney, with the Kavanagh report quoting him as saying, ”We need a doctor at the cutting edge, not just someone who turns up on game day.”
Going forward you get the feeling that players will ask more questions about what they are taking. It doesn’t help the current crop of players who now face potential breach notices and possible loss of income through bans.
Sandor Earl has learnt the tough way by taking advice of Dr Ijaz Khan over an injury in an attempt to recover from a long-term injury quicker. Earl is currently in court suing Dr Khan for medical negligence. He faces up to a four-year ban.
Long term for the Sharks it’s a long road of rebuilding for a club who’s had its fare share of incidents. Cronulla went into administration in 1983 and suffered further problems in 2009 when they asked the NRL at the time to play part of their matches out of Gosford.
Still in 2009 a trip to New Zealand from 2002 came under scrutiny from a current affairs program where an incident occurred between players and a young woman. To cap off 2009, Reni Maitua was banned for two years after a positive drug test.
All the talk about relocation is just talk. The Queensland media have been talking up a Central Queensland takeover of Cronulla from as early as next year.
Whatever the future holds for the Sharks, sponsors and fans alike will need to show true loyalty to back their team both on and off the field. But the club has shown they can come back from adversity.
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