NRL club chief executives Graham Annesley and Raelene Castle have supported calls for a campaign against recreational drugs in rugby league, including "morning after" testing.

The use of class "A" substances throughout the game has come to a head over the past two weeks, culminating in NZ Kiwis forwards Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor being dropped from the national side, after an early-morning incident in Canberra last weekend.

Kiwis captain Bromwich and Proctor were apparently filmed buying and using cocaine outside a Canberra nightclub at 5am, after their Anzac Test loss to Australia the night before.

Neither will be considered for Rugby League World Club selection later this year, and both have been suspended, fined and dropped from leadership roles by their respective NRL clubs, the Melbourne Storm and Gold Coast Titans.

Advertisement

Proctor will miss the next four games, copped a A$20,000 fine and was stripped of his Titans vice-captaincy.

Gold Coast CEO Annesley is furious at Kiwis management, insisting it had failed in its duty of care around the players and demanding a "please explain" through his national body.

But he isn't prepared to let Proctor off the hook either and told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch that he would support any measures to clean up the game, including drug testing players the morning after a game.

"I'm not trying to take any of the blame from Kevin Proctor," said Annesley. "He should have known better, regardless of what rules were in place.

Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor at Kiwis training in Liverpool, 2015. Photo/Photosport
Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor at Kiwis training in Liverpool, 2015. Photo/Photosport

"He should have known that we have an important game coming up, and should have been home in bed and preparing for rehabilitation after the game, and then coming back into our environment to play this week.

"It's not acceptable and it wouldn't happen in our environment."

Annesley insists there is no drug epidemic within rugby league, but also refuses to fall back on the "societal issue" cop-out.

"I don't think there's a problem in the game," he told Veitch. "But these guys are paid enormous amounts of money and my view is you put yourself in this very public position, it's no different to a politician or a judge or a club CEO for that matter.

"If you're prepared to accept the responsibility that goes with the money you're earning, you have to comply with what's required of you.

"I think there's only a small incidence of this, probably smaller than the incidence in the community for that matter, but it's happening and people are getting caught. Anything we can do to try and make sure that players in our game are not subjected to the temptation that goes with this stuff, I'm all for it."

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs chief executive Castle agrees.

"In a perfect world, we wouldn't need to do it, but in reality, we do," she told Veitch.

"I think, if there are some areas of time, either around bye weekends or Saturday and Sunday after a Thursday and Friday game, where they know they're less likely to get tested, if you take that certainty away and make it more uncertain, you're less likely to find yourself in this situation."

Of course, this is not the first time the Titans have had to face a cocaine scandal. In 2015, senior players Greg Bird, Ashley Harrison and Dave Taylor were implicated in similar circumstances.

Annesley's outrage at NZRL management is likely an attempt to distance his club from the memories of that previous case, especially for nervous sponsors.

"The ramifications for the image of our game, the image of our club and our sponsors ... it's incredibly damaging," he told Veitch.

"We've spent the last two years trying to rebuild the reputation of our club and it's all fallen down in one incident. Its soul destroying for the people who have worked so hard to try and get this club back on its feet, and we'll continue to push on, but this has definitely set us back.

"I think we've got a broader issue - in the community and in rugby league - around the use of alcohol and binge drinking, because the other offences arise out of players getting themselves into an inebriated state, where they lose control of what's right and wrong, and often lead to outcomes like this."

Both Bromwich and Proctor claimed they were too drunk to remember details of the cocaine incident, but admitted they put themselves at risk.