NRL: Townsend in the clear

Chad Townsend. Photo / Getty Images
Chad Townsend. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors might be a little anxious around the future availability of new recruit Jayson Bukuya, who is caught up in a drugs probe across the Tasman, but there don't appear to be any concerns around fellow recruit and Sharks teammate Chad Townsend.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today Townsend was among 14 Cronulla players who attended a crisis meeting in March when news of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's (Asada) investigation into drugs use in sport broke but who has since been cleared of being part of controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank's supplements programme. Two others, Ricky Leutele and Sam Tagataese, have also reportedly been cleared.

Asada this week announced they will interview 30 NRL players to help with their ongoing investigations and Bukuya, who has signed a two-year deal to join the Warriors in 2014, is expected to be among them.

Those interviews will begin on August 1 and players could face suspensions if found guilty of drugs use.

Warriors coach Matt Elliott was yesterday confident both Bukuya and Townsend, who has also signed a two-year deal, will be available to play next season.

"I can be accused of a lot of things, but I could never be accused of not being optimistic,'' Elliott said. "My expectations are that Jayson will be here and he'll be a major contributor to what we do next year.

"I don't think Chad is an issue. Jayson is obviously someone who's had his name bandied around, unfortunately for Jayson... I just feel for the kid. I wouldn't like to have my name tossed up like that.''

The Warriors are due to play Cronulla next Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium.

- APNZ

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