Drought's drug ban

Travis Drought suspended for steroid use.
Travis Drought suspended for steroid use.
FORMER Mullumbimby Giants grand final hero Travis Drought has been suspended by the NRL after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid Nandrolone.

Drought kicked five goals in Mullumbimby’s 34-30 grand final victory over Ballina in 2007 and remained at the club last year before moving on to Manly and then the Gold Coast Titans’ under-20s team via clubs in Brisbane and Tweed Heads.

The NRL has imposed an immediate ‘provisional suspension’ on Drought and he could face a two-year penalty from rugby league if further testing confirms the result from his ‘A’ sample.

Nandrolone is a relatively cheap anabolic steroid that assists athletes build up muscle mass and helps them recover from injuries more rapidly.

It has become one of the drugs of choice for rugby league players wanting to either bulk up quickly or repair tissue damage because of the hard contact that is prevalent in the sport.

But it’s also a dumb drug to take mid-season because it takes about three weeks to pass through the body.

The Titans confirmed yesterday that Drought had been with the club for just over a month and had been detected as part of random in-competition testing.

 A Titans club spokesperson declined to comment any further, as did a former coach and a player from the Mullumbimby Giants.

 But Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League (NRRRL) president Robin Harley expressed his ‘surprise’ that Drought had tested positive for the drug.

“From what I remember of him he was a wholehearted player who played well above his weight when he played for Mullumbimby,” Harley said.

“He was a good player who, I think from memory, was still eligible to play under-18s the year he played first grade.

“Travis was always a good competitor and I wouldn’t have thought he needed to go there and I suppose he would be questioning now whether it did any good to do it.”

Harley said with the amount of testing that abounded in sport these days players taking drugs should expect to get caught.

“It comes back to the expectations of the individual and the people around them and why they see the need to do that to compete,” he said.

“He’s a young fella who has gone away to enhance his opportunities and it hasn’t quite worked out for him.”

Nandrolone is a drug that has claimed some pretty big scalps in sport including sprinters Linford Christie, Merlene Ottey and Marion Jones, cricketer Shoaib Akhtar and tennis players Greg Rudsedski and Petr Korda.

It is a drug that has been prohibited both in and out of competition by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).

Drought, who returned a positive ‘A’ sample, has the option under the WADA code to have a ‘B’ sample taken.

Should the ‘B’ sample test not confirm the result, the matter would not be pursued, but if it was positive, Drought could face a two-year ban.

Earlier this season, Cronulla backrower Reni Maitua tested positive to Clenbuterol and copped a similar ban.

Drought is the second under-20s player to return a positive test this year, after Manly’s Shane Gray also tested positive to Clenbuterol.

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