Cronulla Sharks players accept doping bans

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen is one of 10 current NRL players to accept an ASADA deal which would result in a 12-month ban, back-dated to November 2013 for their involvement in the supplements program at the club in 2011.

The players, who are set to be immediately stood down by the NRL, agreed to the deal on Friday morning after receiving assurances from the World Anti-Doping Agency that the terms would not be appealed by the international body.

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen. Photo: Getty Images

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen. Photo: Getty Images

Cronulla teammates Nathan Gardner, Wade Graham and Anthony Tupou are all understood to have accepted the deal, along with Newcastle's Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden, Titans halfback Albert Kelly and prop Luke Douglas plus North Queensland centre Matthew Wright.

The suspension rules Gallen out of the upcoming Four Nations tournament for Australia, while Smith will be unable to represent New Zealand.

With the exception of Wright, the other players would in effect serve a three-match club playing ban as they would be ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Wright will miss the finals with the Cowboys and the Four Nations tournament for Samoa.

Super League-based players Paul Aiton and Ben Pomeroy are understood to have rejected the offer.

It is understood the players made the decision after being told WADA was "comfortable" with the backdated bans

SMH

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