Cronulla Sharks rising star Bronson Xerri reportedly passed six doping tests in the 12 months before his failed test in November of last year, but NSW Origin coach Brad Fittler says he can still play a positive role in the game.
Xerri underwent a blood test on November 25 after ASADA received a tip-off, with the A-sample returning a positive result for the banned substances exogenous testosterone, androsterone, etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a, 17b-diol.
Now it has been revealed that Xerri has passed a number of tests in the 12 months prior to that result, adding weight to the club’s claim that it did not turn a blind eye to potential doping.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reports Xerri has been tested three times by ASADA and five times by the Sharks since November 2018 – including one test in March this year.
The results of that test are not yet known, but the Fairfax report states that sources close to Xerri claim he passed.
According to the report, ASADA received Xerri’s positive test results (from the November 25 test) from the organisation’s laboratory on April 7, but did not inform him until May 22.
Xerri’s seven tests in the space of a year is not an unduly high number, but is above the average of four doping tests per year for an NRL player.
The player has not yet responded or provided a public explanation to the failed test. The results from the B-sample could yet take weeks, with the weight of a potential four-year ban hanging over Xerri’s head.
Fittler, meanwhile, has called for Xerri to remain involved in the game, arguing that his experience of taking performance-enhancing drugs could be beneficial for rising young players.
“I’ve been told from people at clubs that sometimes these things [drug education and awareness] are just done to tick off a box,” Fittler told WWOS.
“Maybe getting Bronson to go around clubs and say this is what happens to you [would be a good thing]. I get told that they get people to clubs, they just sit there, they’re not very recognisable and they go through a process and a protocol, everyone just sort of sits there.
“Footballers, unless you’re smacking them over the head with it every couple of weeks, they just don’t get it through their thick skulls – and I’m one of them.
“Using someone like Bronson is a great way to put them back through the system and go: ‘here’s what can actually happen to your life’.”