NRL player suspended over positive test after grand final

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read
Penrith centre Brent Naden (pictured) during a match for the Panthers.
Penrith centre Brent Naden (pictured) has been provisionally suspended. (Getty Images)

Penrith centre Brent Naden has been provisionally suspended after testing positive to cocaine following the NRL grand final.

Naden was tested by Sport Integrity Australia after Penrith's grand final loss on October 25 and returned a positive sample for metabolites of cocaine, the NRL revealed on Tuesday.

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Cocaine is prohibited in-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL's anti-doping policy.

The 24-year-old recently entered a rehabilitation facility in Sydney to deal with drug and alcohol issues after fronting Panthers staff and admitting recreational drug use.

"Penrith Panthers acknowledges the provisional suspension handed down to player Brent Naden after he returned a positive test for a recreational drug," the club said in a statement.

"As previously reported, Brent approached the club following the 2020 NRL grand final to seek help with a number of personal issues. At that time he admitted to the use of a recreational drug.

"Panthers informed the NRL of Brent's admission and with the support of the club, he commenced a voluntary rehabilitation program at a private health facility.

"Brent recently completed that program and continues to address his personal issues with the support of his family and Panthers staff.

"Working closely with Brent through this process, the club believes he has the capacity to overcome his personal issues and realise his potential.

"Panthers will continue to provide Brent and his family the support they need moving forward."

Naden waits for second sample before potential punishment

It's understood Naden has returned to his hometown of Wellington with his family, where he continues rehabilitation treatment.

He now has the option to have his B-sample tested before any punishment is handed down.

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