Lyall Gorman confident Ben Barba is the only Cronulla Sharks player to fail drug test

Heading to Thailand: Ben Barba. Photo: Michele MossopCronulla CEO Lyall Gorman is confident Ben Barba is the only Shark to have recorded a positive result following a Mad Monday testing blitz on party drugs.
Nanjing Night Net

The Sharks have released Barba from his playing contract to deal with personal issues after he recorded a positive test to cocaine just four days after the club won its maiden premiership.

Barba was given an extension until 5pm on Monday should he wish to lodge an appeal over his sanction, which is a 12-month ban after recording a second strike under the NRL’s illicit drug policy.

The former Dally M medallist had previously tested positive to recreational drugs in 2015. Gorman, who confirmed Barba would not be lodging an appeal against the decision, was confident no other Sharks players had been busted following their premiership festivities.

“That’s a very good question, because if I did know I couldn’t tell you [due to the protocols],” Gorman said.

“But what I can say is that I’m not aware of any players who have tested positive since then … We have been advised by the NRL no other player has tested positive during that period.”

The NRL integrity unit wrote to all clubs before the beginning of the finals series warning that there would be increased testing during a “risk period for players”. Barba’s decision not heed the warnings has resulted in him leaving the Sharks, potentially prematurely ending his career.

Asked if he was shocked by Barba’s decision to take cocaine in spite of repeated warnings, Gorman said: “Yes, absolutely surprised.

“He made a poor choice on a poor day. Whether he got carried away with the celebrations, I don’t know the exact circumstances of when this occurred. But obviously a poor choice.”

Despite recording a previous positive drugs result in early 2015, Gorman said “we felt very comfortable that Ben was heading in a very positive direction.”

However, the former Bulldogs and Broncos fullback will now head to a Thai rehabilitation facility to deal with personal issues.

“To think that Ben is not in a distressed state is clearly an understatement,” Gorman said.

“He has massive issues to confront on a personal basis, he has put his hand up and acknowledged those.

“It is him and his management that have requested the release. He needs to get out of the professional environment to fully focus on himself.”

The latest drama is more negative publicity that has detracted from Cronulla’s historic premiership win.

There was speculation star forward Andrew Fifita would walk out on the game after being overlooked for Clive Churchill medal and representative honours, however his management have dismissed any suggestion he wants out of the NRL.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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