Newcastle Knights preparations for the 2017 campaign have been rocked by allegations that their star halfback has tested positive for steroids.
Jarrod Mullen, 29, are looking down the barrel of a potential four-year ban from rugby league, a time-line that would end his career in the NRL.
It has been reported that Mullen has tested positive for a prohibited substance drostanolone following a routine test at pre-season training late November of the 2016.
Under the NRL’s policy Mullen can either immediately accept the results or have his ‘B-sample’ tested.
The Newcastle Knights have stood Mullen down indefinitely and he will not return to the club until the matter is has been made clear.
Knights CEO Matt Gidley made a brief statement about the matter;
“I was stunned. I still can’t believe it to be honest,” Gidley told reporters
“As soon as I found out, I went straight to Jarrod’s house and we spoke. What can you say? He was distraught and I was really worried about him.
“It’s a really tough situation.”
“I am absolutely confident of that,” he said. “Whatever Jarrod has done, he has done it without the club’s knowledge.”
“We spend a lot of time educating our players around the risks associated with going outside the club,” he said.
“We have lots of education and they are fully aware of the consequences. If they go outside of the club and they do things that we are not aware of, then there is not much we can do.
“That’s what is extremely disappointing from my point of view.”
“We work closely with the players and you become like a family you spend so much time together,” he said.
“It’s never nice to see one of your players go down this path so that’s why it’s important we spent some time with Jarrod today.
“We are bitterly disappointed and the lesson for all players in professional sport is listen to the people inside your club and take advice from them.”
“I think the consequences are pretty severe,” Gidley said.
Mullen, who was linked to join ex-coach Rick Stone on a move to Huddersfield late last year, but that never eventuated.
Mullen made his debut for the Knights against the Wests Tigers in round 10 of the 2005 season. He gone onto to make 211 NRL appearances for the Newcastle Knights in a injury riddled career.