Cronulla, Essendon players to receive notices from ASADA this week: report

Up to 57 players from both the AFL and the NRL will reportedly be informed within days that they face possible sanctions as part of a lengthy inquiry by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA).

Fairfax is reporting the year-long investigation is set to reach its dramatic climax this week, with players potentially facing bans of up to two years.

Fairfax says 17 players who were at Cronulla in early 2011 and up to 40 Essendon players can expect to receive show-cause notices.

The issuing of show-cause notices is the first step towards taking action against players alleged to have breached anti-doping laws.

Players are then given a chance to plead their case before any potential sanctions are handed down.

Even if the show-cause notices are issued this week, legal complexities mean it is unlikely that any sanctions would follow in the short term.

Athletes are first given a chance to respond to the notice and can even take their case to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or the Federal Court.

The use of prohibited substances carries a mandatory two-year ban.

Individual player sanctions would be another blow to Cronulla and Essendon, who have both had a tumultuous 12 months since the infamous "blackest day in Australian sport".

The Sharks have already been fined $1 million by the NRL and had coach Shane Flanagan sacked for 12 months.

Essendon coach James Hird also copped a 12-month ban from the AFL, while the club was fined $2 million and disqualified from last year’s finals series.

The issue of show-cause notices this week would signal a dramatic start to the reign of new ASADA boss Ben McDevitt, who starts his new post on Monday.

The former Federal Police assistant commissioner replaces outgoing chief executive Aurora Andruska.

The latest developments come just weeks after former Federal Court judge Garry Downes conducted an independent review of ASADA’s lengthy investigation.