Widespread drug abuse within rugby league has reared its head in recent days.
First it was former Leigh Centurions forward Jamie Acton who has been in the public eye documenting his taking of cocaine whilst, with Oliver Wilkes the next to confess live on ITV about taking performance enhancing drugs.
Now, though, Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar has dismissed such claims, though he was keen to pass on his concerns for Wilkes.
“My first thoughts were about Oli and what has prompted him to come out with this,” Agar said.
“He is not a guy I’ve had contact with, I think the last time I saw him was when he was with Workington and we played them at home.
“I hope personally he is okay, that was my first thought.
“My second is I completely disagree – and I have coached for 20-odd years – that drugs is a widespread problem in our game.
“It might be and I might not know about it, but I can certainly talk about my club with great confidence now and say that’s not the case.
“I can go back to all the clubs I’ve been at and pretty much say that I do not think it is a widespread issue.”
Sky Sports pundits Jon Wells and Brian Carney have been vocal in their dismissal of such claims too, with RFL chief regulatory officer Karen Moorhouse saying: “”It’s been a tough couple of days but actually I think it’s shown the spotlight on all the good work that goes on across the sport to ensure we are a clear sport,” Moorhouse told Sky Sports.
“The same rules are in place right across the sport from Super League to throughout the community game.
“UKAD have the ability to test players and do indeed test players at all levels throughout the game.
“We take all the steps we can to ensure our sport is clean – that starts at education to make sure players are aware of what they put into their bodies to make sure no one accidentally breaches the rules.
Moorhouse was also keen to stress just how vigorous the RFL’s stance is on this.
“It’s really robust intelligence-led reporting, we encourage anyone with any concerns to report them to ourselves or UKAD and we pass on any concerns we have to them.
“We also have a robust testing program – we’re the third most tested sport through UKAD and through all the limbs of our policies we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure our sport is a clean sport.”