Reduced ban opens NRL door for Segeyaro

·2-min read

Rugby league journeyman James Segeyaro could return to the NRL this year after being given a reduced ban for testing positive to a banned substance.

The NRL confirmed on Thursday the 30-year-old had been given a backdated 20-month ban after returning a positive sample for Ligandrol while playing for Brisbane in 2019.

Segeyaro had been facing a possible four-year ban because of the test but satisfied the NRL's anti-doping tribunal the substance had got into his system unintentionally.

The tribunal said it accepted Segeyaro's evidence he'd unknowingly ingested the substance after using a blender he shared with a housemate.

"The Tribunal found that whilst Mr Segeyaro bore a significant degree of responsibility for the positive result, he had not intentionally taken the Ligandrol, which was likely to have entered his system via the use of a food blender maintained by a member of his household that contained residues of the substance," the NRL said in a statement.

The ban means Segeyaro will be free to play from June 3, giving him hope of continuing his 154-game NRL career.

"You have no idea what this means to me," the former Broncos, North Queensland, Penrith and Cronulla hooker told News Corp Australia.

"I'm lost for words."

Ligandrol is the substance which led to Australian swimmer Shayna Jack being sent home from the 2019 World Championships and subsequently handed a two-year ban, which the World Anti-Doping Authority and Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) have both appealed.

Jack had also suggested using a contaminated blender may have been the source of her positive result.

In a statement, SIA chief executive David Sharpe said the agency would consider the NRL tribunal's decision before deciding whether to lodge an appeal or not.