Sack Paul Gallen as Blues captain over drug scandal


Paul Gallen's Origin form was at its most superhuman during the same season as the Cronulla drug scandal. Picture: STEVE CHRISTO

Paul Gallen's Origin form was at its most superhuman during the same season as the Cronulla drug scandal. Picture: STEVE CHRISTO

The most staggering thing about the whole ASADA saga, which climaxed on Friday with the majority of Cronulla players having acknowledged that they – and let's be clear about this – were involved in a program that resulted in the use of illegal substances, is obvious.

It is the seeming lack of outcry, of outrage, from within the broader rugby league community, that while everyone else was working honestly hard to win the comp, one club embarked on a systematic doping regime, to cheat their way to glory.

Before agreeing to the deal on Friday the players, most notably captain Paul Gallen, had insisted they had done nothing wrong, had not knowingly taken illegal substances and had trusted the club's support staff.

But they stuck needles in their arms and all the rest, being injected with banned substances, in the hope that dope would do what sweat had not. Amazingly, for many the real culprits in the piece remain ASADA themselves, and let's not forget the last government! Anyone but the club and players.

Seriously, where are the league titans – and I don't mean those on the Gold Coast – saying what needs to be said here? 

There should be a bevy of voices saying, 'You have disgraced the game, as has the Cronulla club.' Ten years ago, when league prop Rodney Howe was found to have taken steroids, Gorden Tallis was the most outspoken, calling it for what it was – cheating – and saying the game had no place for it. "Watch out for the needles, boys!" he called, when Howe had served his time and came back to the game.

Who is saying that now? Not even Tallis, that I have heard. As to Gallen, his position as NSW captain is no longer tenable.

In 2011 – the year when Gallen's Origin play was at its most superhuman – he was at a club where there was systematic doping of his players at Cronulla. If anyone could speak up to put a stop to it, it was him. But he didn't. Is that who we want as Blues captain? Yes, do the crime, do the time, and all square on the ledger, and Gallen can come back. But not in so honourable a position as captain.

As to deposed Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan coming back, I no more get that than I get James Hird coming back, after what happened at Essendon. Fire at will.


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