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Sharks boss backs ASADA deal denials
By Steve Jancetic and Roje Adaimy
18:01 AEST Tue Jul 23 2013

Cronulla's football boss Steve Noyce has backed assertions by skipper Paul Gallen that Sharks players never attempted to broker a deal with ASADA in relation to the doping scandal engulfing the NRL club.

The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday reported that it had obtained documents revealing negotiations with the club's previous board and players involved in the investigation with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

There were suggestions players were seeking a number of guarantees surrounding contracts and payments in return for waiving any future rights against the club.

Gallen spoke on radio claiming he knew nothing of any talks regarding deals with ASADA, and while Noyce was not at the club at the time, the Sharks' head of football operations says he had not been made aware of any negotiations.

"They didn't try and cut a deal, there was a lot of discussions," Noyce told reporters.

"They happened before I got here. What's happened before is not relevant to now."

The NRL on Monday said 30 players and support staff would be issued with instructions within 48 hours to set up interviews with ASADA, which will begin on August 1.

With the last interview process aborted when Sharks back-rower Wade Graham failed to co-operate with investigators, the NRL will this time sit in on the interviews, with the threat of sanctions hanging over any player who fails to give reasonable assistance.

Noyce was confident his players - of which there are ten to be questioned over the 2011 supplement program - would co-operate fully.

"The NRL has made it very clear yesterday in their press release about an expectation of co-operation," Noyce said.

"They also made it crystal clear that in these serious matter players are entitled to have legal representation."

Players are not obliged to answer any questions which may incriminate themselves.

Gallen told Sky Sports Radio - with whom he has a weekly segment - that he had been told from "day one" that if he agreed to be truthful, he would only face a six-month ban and no payments would be lost.

"But we don't know where the truth and honesty will come from because we don't know what we've done wrong," he said.

"That certainly was before the season started, before round one, that's what we were told and, as was reported back then, that we'd keep our contracts and take six months."

But as to claims of working on a deal with ASADA, Gallen said:

"I never went to broker any deal with ASADA, I never had any interview with ASADA. I never spoke to ASADA at all," said Gallen.

"I haven't had any contact with them and I don't know how they get information like that.

"I think the media knows more than what we do, which is, I suppose, to show how ASADA's run."

Gallen pleaded for more support for players involved in the scandal after the effort the previous interview process had on his teammates.

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