It was one of the most incredibly harrowing stories in rugby league history.
But, for one of the first times in the sport, the story of Cronulla Sharks’ doping scandal has been talked about by one of those involved.
Beau Ryan – former Sharks and Wests Tigers star – faced questions on it from AFL legend Nathan Buckley on an episode of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
“Nath asked me today about the doping scandal at Cronulla and I was there when the ASADA scandal came out but I wasn’t there in 2011 when all the allegations were made of doping,” Ryan said on camera.
“It ripped the league apart.”
“I got there in 2013 but this happened in ‘11,” Ryan told Buckley.
“We got called in at training one day and the integrity unit was there and the (NRL) commission and all these people.
“And they said, ‘you’ve seen the news? This is going to be one of the darkest days in sport. Something happened at this club in regards to doping and stuff, so be honest and tell us what’s happened because they’ve got ya’.
“We were in a room for like 12 hours – that was the first day of the investigation.”
Ryan told Buckley that training would consistently be halted in order for players to be interviewed as the investigation took three months to complete.
“So we’d be training and they’d go, ‘all right, four players, boom’, straight into an interrogation with ASADA,” he recalled.
“They were saying, ‘you come forward and say yeah you’ve doped, we’ll give you a six-month suspension that you serve in the pre-season’.”
But, Ryan – who was forced to retire midway through the 2014 season due to a severe neck injury – also backed the players in their decisions.
“Everyone’s trying to get the edge but at the end of the day they come out and said, ‘Drink that, rub that on your arm’.
“Everyone did it as you trust the process.
“When you go in front of the tribunal, they go, ‘you should know what you’re putting in (to your body).
“Are you going to test every Gatorade you drink? Come on.”