A former first grade player who had stints at three Sydney clubs has acknowledged that drug use is spread far and wide in the National Rugby League.
Wishing to remain anonymous, the retired journeyman shockingly claims that substance abuse has been going on for decades, happening in lower grades and coaches know all about it.
Curtis: Obviously there has been a change in body shape since you played and there is so much money involved these days, are players trying to get an edge by taking illegal substances?
Player: Definitely. Also very much alive with younger blokes that have not made it yet, they hardly get tested.
Curtis: When you look at certain players do you question how they’ve developed so quickly?
Player: No I normally hear or can tell these days. People always love gasping.
Curtis: So people on the street know its going on?
Player: Depends who you know or who you talk to and who they trust. I could probably find out anything of someone I know and what they’re using.
Curtis: That sprinter Ben Johnson was caught in 1988. How long do you think this has been happening in rugby league?
Player: Drug cheats are always one step ahead of the drug testers but as you are seeing now it will always catch up to them. I’d say 25 years ago onwards that I have heard of. When I was 17 I was seeing it around a bit but it wasn’t the clubs. It was just personal choice.
Curtis: Why hasn’t a player come forward when they’ve seen this kind of thing?
Player: Not sure, people I think just choose not to. They may come out soon.
Curtis: Is the cheating too widespread?
Player: I’d say yes. They will always be one step ahead until they come out with tests for new drugs. New drugs will come out and then they may not have a test that can detect it for another five years.
Curtis: There is talk they are putting things into their body that aren’t even approved for human use yet. Is it possible we will literally see someone drop dead on the field?
Player: Big chance, never know when they have not been approved. Heart explosions.
Curtis: Are these players that desperate they would risk death?
Player: I’ve heard rumours of a team in the 1980’s and early 1990’s that I believe from sources to be true, the whole team practically was pumping steroids. And they were a mean team, loved watching them. As I grew older I realised why and yes most players on them [steroids] think that they’re invincible. So [they] wouldn’t be worried about death but I’d say doctors would be keeping a close eye on the smart ones.
Curtis: Do you think the coaches know what is happening?
Player: They know. They would have to be blind not to.