Ousted NRL player's surprise move after doping ban

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Banned former Sharks centre Bronson Xerri is reportedly eying off a potential NFL switch while he is suspended from the NRL. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)
Banned former Sharks centre Bronson Xerri is reportedly eying off a potential NFL switch while he is suspended from the NRL. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Bronson Xerri's NRL career is on hiatus for the next three years after he was found guilty of a doping violation, but that apparently isn't stopping the former Cronulla young gun from making his next move.

The 20-year-old is reportedly eyeing off a move to the United States in a bid to launch an NFL career which, if successful, would make him the third NRL alumni to play in the American football league.

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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Xerri has reached out of Pacific Sports Management, the same company that assisted Valentine Holmes as he attempted to gain a foothold in the NFL.

There would reportedly be no legal issues preventing him from playing in the NFL, should he make a roster, after Xerri's four-year doping ban was handed down by the NRL's Anti-Doping Tribunal in March.

Xerri's ban applies to all codes and leagues which a signatories to the WADA code - which the NFL is not.

However the former Sharks talent will have his work cut out for him if his two NRL predecessors, Jarryd Hayne and Valentine Holmes' experiences are anything to go by.

Hayne made a decent fist of it after leaving the NRL in 2014, playing in eight regular season games for the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 before returning to Australia a year later.

It was a tougher battle for Holmes, who earned a place on the New York Jets' practice squad in 2019 and playing in three pre-season matches before he was cut, at which time he returned to the NRL with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Xerri has time and youth on his side, with sporting pursuits back home off the table for the next three years, but it would appear to be an uphill battle for the former centre to make an impact.

Croker joins Johns, more records ahead

Jarrod Croker could surpass greats Andrew Johns and Johnathan Thurston in the space of weeks to enter the NRL's top three all-time point scorers.

The Canberra captain climbed further up the record books on Saturday night, going level with Johns' career tally of 2,176 with eight points against Gold Coast.

The straight-shooting goalkicker should pass Johns into clear fourth on Friday night against Penrith, with Thurston just 46 points further ahead on 2,222.

Croker has repeatedly said he has no interest in the records, but the 30-year-old has averaged around 185 points per season in recent years, with Hazem El Masri's second-place in the standings with 2,418 on target to be toppled next year.

Canberra Raiders star Jarrod Croker is on the cusp of becoming one of the NRL's top three point-scorers. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Canberra Raiders star Jarrod Croker is on the cusp of becoming one of the NRL's top three point-scorers. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Cameron Smith's record of 2,786 is far further down the road, but Croker could be on track to challenge it by the time his current deal ends in 2024 if he holds his fitness and scoring rate.

"We get a guy with 290-odd games of football experience, and he's a leader the boys love having around - and I do too," coach Ricky Stuart said.

"Outside of being a great Raider, he is a wonderful bloke."

Working in Croker's favour in the pursuit of the record is his age, having only celebrated his 30th birthday last September.

Johns was 33 when he retired on 2,176 points, while Thurston was aged 35 at that mark, El Masri 32 and Smith 34.

Adam Reynolds (1,674), Benji Marshall (1,220) and Shaun Johnson (1,139) are the only other current players to be in four figures, but none look like challenging Croker.

With AAP

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