Manly have been busy defusing rumour after rumour that they are going to be the next club to feel the heat from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and here is the proof that they may be under the pump. Only two rugby league teams have been targeted for their involvement with Stephen Dank, according to ASADA’s initial letter to Dank’s legal team, and they are Cronulla and Manly.
We’ve seen the blowtorch on the Sharks over the past week, but Manly insist, as they have done all along, that they are only of low interest to the drugs body.
It was no coincidence that Steve Menzies tweeted over the weekend to say he hadn’t rolled over and given evidence to ASADA. He received a phone call before his tweet from Manly chief executive David Perry to inquire whether the wild rumours that Manly would be stripped of their premierships because Menzies had given evidence were true.
This column isn’t saying that Manly has done anything wrong – it is merely pointing out that, along with the Sharks, they are the team that will need to answer questions because of their direct association with Dank.
Interestingly, there are three AFL teams named – Essendon, the Gold Coast and Geelong. How three AFL clubs have stayed under the radar, so to speak, in comparison to what’s going on at the Sharks is the subject of many theories. The letter also leads to the question of why six NRL teams have been put under the pump when it looks as though Dank’s association is only being questioned at two of them.
There is a strong line of thought that the NRL wouldn’t mind scrapping the Sharks and starting over again – they have been a basket case for so long in terms of off-field leadership, and the NRL’s ”rescue package”, installing hand-picked management, is an interesting step to say the least.
Take this as fact – the NRL would love to have a second team out of Brisbane and they are of the firm belief that the Sydney market is too congested. The Sharks would be the easy squeeze. If things continue to crumble at Cronulla, could we see the emergence of the Brisbane Sharks?
Not just yet
Those getting excited about Manly being somehow linked to illegal drug use should note a few things – firstly, no player tested positive; secondly, Des Hasler is a stickler for the rules; thirdly, the way Manly worked is that Dank would talk to Des, then Des would talk to his doctor – if it was not good with the doctor, then it was not going to happen. And from what this column understands, Dank had not even thought about peptides while at the club.
And take this as fact – if Dank wanted to dump a team into trouble it would be the Sea Eagles – he was not re-signed by the club and they are understood to have owed him wages and holiday pay. He also got lumbered with a huge phone bill.
Ire for Snowden
Former Shark Kade Snowden has been targeted by some of his old teammates as a player they believe has given evidence to ASADA. I chased down that lead last week and Snowden’s management said it was wrong. According to Todd Buckingham the front-rower has had no contact with the drugs body. It does indicate, though, that Snowden and the Sharks players are a long way from being tight.
Making things more uncomfortable at the NRL is that Trent Elkin’s wife, Jane, is an employee of the game’s governing body, in the marketing department. She has been on maternity leave and is obviously struggling as her husband goes through the most difficult period of his life.
We are hearing that aside from the British Lions playing the Wallabies, there will also be a Classic Wallabies match against old timers representing the British Lions. Word is that both Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns will play for the Classic Wallabies. The pair excelled recently when they represented the Classic Wallabies, with Fittler an absolute superstar.
Young talent time
A couple of names to keep an eye on playing in the NSW under-15 Oztag team. Dylan Morris, the younger brother of the Morris twins, Brett and Josh, is in the team and is said to be every bit as good as his older siblings. Another name that caught the eye is Tristan Sailor, son of dual international Wendell. He will be appearing for NSW, which is interesting given that his Dad is a Queensland Origin legend, but played union for the Waratahs. Perhaps Laurie Daley needs to ensure that Tristan will be a blue through and through. If early reports are right he is going to be every bit as good as his father.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.