Cronulla Sharks great Paul Gallen has taken aim at the club’s critics in the wake of young gun Bronson Xerri’s provisional doping suspension.
The 19-year-old Xerri has been provisionally suspended by ASADA, pending the results of his B sample, which are due on June 9.
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Speculation raged about the centre’s future in the wake of his suspension, but Sharks great Paul Gallen has become fed up with suggestions Cronulla has a problem with performance enhancing substances.
Gallen hit back at some critics who connected Xerri’s failed test to the Sharks’ 2011 doping scandal, saying there was no comparison between the two incidents.
“Comparing the Bronson Xerri situation to what happened at the Cronulla Sharks in 2011 is just ridiculous,” Gallen wrote in a column for Channel 9.
“People who have done that are just hating on the club or individuals who were involved. That’s all it is.
“Anyone who bothered to read past the first line or two of what happened in 2011 would understand exactly what happened.
“In 2011, you had a club-run program where the players were listening to people in positions of power and trust. The supplements we were given were not on any banned list, by name.”
Paul Gallen hits back at Cronulla Sharks critics
Gallen, who played 348 games for the Sharks from 2001 to 2019, said Xerri was an isolated case which didn’t reflect on the club as a whole.
“Sixteen players had to plead guilty to taking something that was illegal. ‘Duped and doped’ was what was written on the charge sheet,” Gallen said.
“What we have here with Bronson is an individual who has wound up with something in his system that shouldn’t have been there.
“I don’t know what’s happened, how Bronson’s been caught up in this situation or what’s gone wrong, but it’s such a shame to see from a young bloke with so much promise.
“It’s very important now that Bronson has people looking out for him and making sure that he’s OK.”