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Bennett hopes drugs not widespread in NRL
Wayne Heming
15:49 AEST Thu Feb 7 2013

Veteran NRL super-coach Wayne Bennett says he's hoping the drugs scandal that has enveloped rugby league is limited to individuals and not whole teams.

An explosive report from the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) delivered on Thursday lifted the lid on widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime.

Following the report's release, Federal Justice Minister Jason Clare said there was evidence entire teams, from an unspecified code, were being doped with the support of sports scientists.

New NRL CEO Dave Smith revealed information supplied by the ACC affected more than one NRL player and more than one NRL club.

Seven-time premiership winner Bennett said he was still trying to get his head around the explosive findings of the year-long probe.

"I understand there are no particular allegations against any particular (NRL) team or any particular player," said Bennett.

"They've obviously got a lot of evidence.

"I'm not that naive to think things don't happen at clubs but certainly clubs I've been a part of have never been involved in things that are being suggested now.

"I hope they're on a small scale - I think they probably are in our game.

"Back in the late 1980s, I didn't think we had a drug issue but I was wrong then - there was a drug issue," he said.

"I just hope we're not on a scale where teams have been heavily involved in it.

"A the end of the day, the choice is up to the individual and he has to pay a price for whatever he decides. It remains to be seen just how widespread it is."

Bennett, who's followed the Lance Armstrong cycling drug saga for years, said some young athletes in all sports were not strong enough to say 'no'.

"The people who advance this type of stuff are pretty good at manipulation," he said.

"The older you are, the better chance you have of standing up for yourself.

"When you are a young player trying to make it, you think 'this is what I have to do'."

Bennett said he was wary of the risks posed by sports science.

"I don't employ anyone who talks in mystique and gets around the place wanting to give people injections," he said.

"They don't get a job with me or any club I am involved with."


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