Canberra’s gifted and talented fullback Josh Dugan is the latest high profile Australian sportsman to face off-field issues.
The breaking news out of Canberra is just another in a long line of troubles plaguing athletes of late, from the Bulldogs’ Ben Barba, to the four Australian cricketers being made unavailable for selection in the third Test in India starting on Thursday.
Then there’s the never-ending saga of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and associated drugs innuendo.
And the Australian men’s 100m relay swimming team at the London Olympics were publicly paraded like naughty schoolboys six months after they competed at the Games.
All these dramas have come on top of the assembling of Australian sporting heavies in Canberra for the dramatic announcement - drum roll, lights, cameras, action - regarding the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s (ASADA) investigations into sport.
Now we have NRL chief executive David Smith demanding more support from the Gillard government to speed up the ASADA investigation into the rugby league clubs.
As Smith quite rightly commented, ‘‘I have always said the ASADA investigation must run its course, but it also must have the capability to complete it in a reasonable time.’’
All these matters - Dugan, Aussie cricketers, Olympic swimmers, Barba, the ACC and ASADA announcement - have made it a crazy, mind boggling few weeks in Australian sport.
This morning, Dugan apologised for his breach of Raiders club policy, tweeting, ‘‘This goes beyond drinking while injured. Yes I’ve broken team rules but for me it goes deeper and I plan on sorting it out’’.
The revelations came just after we were trying to get our heads around what the blazers is going on with the Australian cricket team in India.
As if the floggings in the first two Tests weren’t enough, this tour is set to disintegrate into a shambles.
Management and players at the Cronulla Sharks have pistols drawn at 20 paces.
Now the same can apply to the Aussie cricketers.
Put simply, it appears that vice-captain Shane Watson, who is on his way back to Australia for the birth of his first baby and who may pull the pin on the Australian cricket team, James Pattinson, Usman Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson didn’t get their homework in on time to headmaster -oops, coach - Mickey Arthur.
Australian captain Michael Clarke is now in the invidious position of being part of management rather than the team he leads and so he sides with the coach rather than his players.
One can only imagine what would happen if, for instance, Ian Chappell was captain of the Australian cricket team.
Chappell was a magnificent leader in the 1970s. His players would run through brick walls for him. And he would stick up for them through thick and thin, in battles with the establishment and authority.
Chappelli famously said the coach of the Australian cricket team was used for transporting players to the ground.
Times may have changed. But for the better?
Oh, and by the way, the first round of the NRL season kicked off last Thursday.
In the process some magnificent football was played, the most emotional and gutsy by the under siege Cronulla players at Sharks Stadium on Sunday.
Unfortunately all the on-field brilliance and courage has been overshadowed by the other drama off the field.
For those who claim that pressure is the cause of these problems, it’s worth remembering the quote by the late, great Keith Miller, champion allround cricketer and World War II fighter pilot: ‘‘Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse. Cricket is not.’’