Leeds Rhinos’ Paul Aiton – who is set to play for the club in the Challenge Cup Final this weekend – is reportedly one of 17 players issued with ‘show cause’ orders by Australian anti-doping agency ASADA after action was taken this week, Australian media are reporting.
Aiton played for Cronulla Sharks – the club who has been dragged into the spotlight by ASADA this week – between 2010 and 2011, and is one of twelve ex-Sharks – alongside five current members of the squad – who have been reportedly issued with the order. Catalan Dragons back Ben Pomeroy is another of the 17 who has apparently been called into question by ASADA after their controversial supplements program of 2011.
Australian media are reporting that the 17 players face the prospect of up to two years on the sidelines, and are stating that both Aiton and Pomeroy are indeed included in that list of players. However, it is understood the players could receive back-dated one-year suspensions from November last year which would result in practical playing bans of less than one month, served at the end of this season.
Any suspension Aiton and/or Pomeroy received would be served in Super League. The players have until Friday to accept any deals relating to suspensions.
The club said the five players currently contracted to the club who have received ‘show cause’ notices from ASADA are captain Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Nathan Gardner, Anthony Tupou and retiring hooker John Morris.