Wests Tigers pair Craig Field and Kevin McGuinness could become the first players to be slapped with a minimum two-year ban under the National Rugby League’s anti-doping policy.
Halfback Field and centre McGuinness revealed themselves yesterday as the two Tigers players who tested positive to banned stimulants.
They stood down from playing in the NRL while the B samples of their drug tests are analysed by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA).
The positive tests have left the pair’s careers in jeopardy and Wests’ season in disarray, with McGuinness the club’s top try and point scorer and Field the Tigers’ key playmaker.
To add to the joint-venture club’s woes, two players - Luke O’Donnell and John Skandalis - face a combined total of five weeks on the sideline after being charged yesterday by the NRL match review committee.
Field and McGuinness fronted a media conference yesterday after the news of the drug tests was made public but neither made any comment as Tigers chief executive Steve Noyce read a statement from them.
The pair would not confirm or deny they took the stimulants but said they did not want their teammates tarnished with innuendo.
Tigers fullback Matt Seers, a cousin of Field, has made no secret of his past drug addiction but after checking himself into a rehabilitation clinic two years ago he’s believed to have overcome the problem.
“This is an incredibly difficult moment for me,” Field said in his statement. “I will be defending my position to the best of my ability but it is not fair that I run the risk of disrupting my team in the process.
“I did not want to see them suffer any innuendo and I do not want to cause them any disruption in the weeks ahead.
“It is my decision to stand down and I want to make that clear.”
McGuinness endorsed Field’s remarks.
“Clearly having this over your head is not easy for me or the club,” he said via his statement.
“I want the chance to resolve it without having my team-mates affected.”
ASDA will un-seal McGuinness’ and Field’s B samples later this week but it’s expected to be three weeks before it can confirm the result.