Todd Carney's sacking and the resignation of Cronulla coach Peter Sharp can be directly linked to the crippling effect the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigation is having on the Sharks, says NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle.
On another tumultuous day for the embattled Sharks, Doyle said it was "completely unacceptable" that the Asada probe had spanned 18 months and this had contributed to the crisis Cronulla were in - on and off the field.
Although Carney has a long record of alcohol-related incidents, it's been reported that the 28-year-old fell back into bad habits after Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan was suspended over the club's 2011 supplement programme.
More to the point, Doyle said, the Asada issue played a part in Carney's sacking because the Sharks had been desperate to find major sponsors after continual bad press over the drug probe.
Interim coach Sharp's decision to resign, announced yesterday, came a week after captain Paul Gallen said players believed he wasn't giving 100 per cent. Doyle said Asada's seemingly endless investigation had led to Cronulla's implosion, as it had been been "something hanging over their head".
"We've said right from the start it's completely unacceptable. We push Asada on a continuous basis that we want to get this resolved as soon as we can.
"They have a lot of process they need to go through and it's outside our control. But we push them every single day to get a result."
But Doyle doesn't believe the Sharks are on the brink of collapse.
"It's trying times for them but they'll continue to work through and be a stronger club at the end of it."