Retired league legend Paul Gallen has ripped into Australia's anti-doping authority over the latest scandal to hit the Cronulla Sharks.
Gallen accused ASADA of chasing headlines and questioned their motives after rising star Bronson Xerri's positive test results were released six months after the samples were taken.
Hardman Gallen, who played 19 seasons at the Sharks until last year, implied both ASADA and the NRL had breached their duty of care towards players because of the delay.
And he said the time lapse meant the Sharks had lost veteran centre Josh Morris needlessly, because the salary cap pressure which forced him out would not have existed had Xerri been stood down earlier.
The 19-year-old Xerri, who made his first grade debut in 2019, has been provisionally suspended days before the NRL kicks off again after the COVID-19 break. He can now get his B sample tested.
Gallen's suspicions about ASADA date back to the 2011 supplements scandal which hit the Sharks.
"I think it's pretty clear that I'm not a fan of ASADA," he told 2GB's Wide World of Sports Radio.
"That's all been dealt with now, but certain things I saw which I've written in my book about, now after seeing this as well, you have to think whether ASADA are trying to create headlines.
"Are they really there for the good of the game? Are they really trying to catch people doing the wrong thing or are they just there to create headlines."
Gallen said the authorities could be seen as legally culpable if an "enhanced" player who had tested positive was still able to play through such a long delay and then injured an opponent.
Former ASADA boss Richard Ings claimed the delay "isn't a crazy deadline".
"It is a complicated sample with a wide variety of banned substances detected and needing confirmation at a time when Christmas, fires and then COVID were impacting," he said.
Gallen said: "At no point here am I trying to justify what's happened. If Bronson has tested positive then he'll cop whatever punishment that is coming his way, but surely there's got to be some questions asked of the timing of this."
Xerri is alleged to have returned a positive A-sample "for exogenous Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol" when tested on November 25. He was recovering from shoulder surgery at the time, and he missed the first two matches this year.