Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen is believed to be among 10 current NRL players to have accepted doping bans from Asada yesterday.

According to reports, Gallen and the nine other players still playing in the NRL who were at the Sharks during their 2011 season have accepted 12-month backdated bans which will expire on November 21. The club has been the focus of an Asada doping investigation.

The ban effectively means those players - Gallen's Cronulla teammates Wade Graham, Anthony Tupou and Nathan Gardner; Newcastle's Jeremy Smith and Kade Snowden; Gold Coast pair Luke Douglas and Albert Kelly; and North Queensland back Matthew Wright will miss only three NRL games.

Asada made the offer on Wednesday and gave the players 48 hours to reply. The bans are set to decimate the Sharks side for their game against Canberra tomorrow.


In accepting the bans, the players must admit to taking banned substances as part of Cronulla's 2011 peptide programme. These admissions are likely to be used as evidence against support staff. The players are said to have agreed to the bans after Wada stated they were happy with them. Super League players Paul Aiton and Ben Pomeroy are said to have rejected the bans.

NRL boss David Smith said he hoped the 18-month investigation was finally reaching a conclusion.

"If we can bring the thing to an end, if we can get the right response whereby the punishment fits the crime ... then the right things have taken place in the right way and I think we have managed the process pretty well so far," he said.