Drugs in Rugby League
Below is a history of events regarding drug scandals in Rugby League.


August 30, 2007 - Andrew Johns (Newcastle Knights), after being caught in the U.K. with ecstasy tablets, has revealed that he has been taking drugs throughout his 12 year career.


October 19, 2006 - Craig Trindall (stand-in Penrith halfback) has been found with traces of cannibis in his system. Trindall has been issued a 12-week suspended ban and has been ordered to do 40 hours of community service. He has also been put on notice; any further positive test will see a minimum two-year ban handed out.

October 19, 2006 - Newtown Jets player Matthew Eather was found to have used the steroid nandrolone in July. He later admitted to using a human growth hormone in addition to the steroid. Eather has been suspended for 2 years, as per the standard for ASADA.

October 19, 2006 - Penrith-St Marys player Greg Brain was also suspended for 2 years for steroid use, this time stanozolol. Brain was tested in July as well.

August 24, 2006 - Prop Mitchell Sargent has been sacked by North Queensland after returning a positive drugs test. Sargent tested positive to cocaine following an in-house test conducted by the club.



August 22, 2004 - Dual international Andrew Walker had gone "missing" before he effectively ended his own career by taking cocaine, it was revealed last night. Walker, 30, retired late yesterday after it was announced he had tested positive to the drug following Manly's NRL game against South Sydney at North Sydney Oval on August 22.



March 30, 2001 - Tigers face ban : Wests Tigers players Kevin McGuinness and Craig Field have been suspended for 6 months for taking recreational drugs.


November 11, 1999 -  Western Suburbs rugby league player Adrian Rainey was suspended for two years after been found guilty of taking a performance-enhancing drug. The NRL Drugs Tribunal backdated the penalty to the beginning of 1999 when the 20-year-old second-rower stood down from his club after testing positive in December 1998.

March 18, 1999 - Western Suburbs rugby league forward Matt Spence has been suspended for seven weeks after the NRL drugs tribunal found him guilty of taking a banned stimulant. The ban is effective from February 8 when Spence stood himself down after returning a positive swab to the recreational drug ecstasy. He is eligible to play again after March 28.

March 18, 1999 - Suspended Newcastle winger Adam MacDougall has challenged the right of Canterbury club doctor Hugh Hazard to rule on his application to use a banned substance when he resumes playing. After being outed until the Knights' round 12 match against South Sydney on the weekend starting May 21 for testing positive to an anabolic agent, MacDougall applied to continue using Sustanon 250 for health reasons.

February 17, 1999 - Adrian Rainey, has return a postive swab. Rainey has denied all knowledge of taking performance enhancing drugs.

February 9, 1999 - Matt Spence, has admitted to his club that recreational drugs were almost certainly responsible for his failing a pre-season drugs test.
Spence, 22, identified himself yesterday as the forward whose A and B samples returned positive swabs to banned stimulants. He has stood himself down until he fronts the NRL drugs tribunal, which has the power to suspend him for up to two years. His management conceded recreational drugs were most likely involved in the finding - perhaps in combination with a dietary supplement. It is believed his sample showed traces of amphetamines.


September 29, 1998 - Ben MacDougall, 21-year-old rookie and brother of Adam MacDougall, has been suspended for 22 matches after pleading guilty to using and anabolic agent.

August 25, 1998 - Newcastles Adam MacDougall pleaded guilty to using one banned stimulant and was found to have inadvertently used another and received a 11 match ban.

July 29, 1998 - The National Rugby League revealed that all samples in its recent blanket testing program returned negative results. NRL chief executive Neil Whittaker said more than 515 players were tested in the biggest drugs blitz ever conducted by a sport in Australia, with no further positive results. The mass testing was put in place from June 20 following four players returning positive samples to performance-enhancing drugs earlier in the season.

July 28, 1998 - Adam MacDougall was advised his B sample from a random drug test on June 6 was positive for the stimulants ephedrine and amfepramone. MacDougall's A and B samples both also recorded an epitestosterone to testosterone level greater than the allowable 6:1 ratio - indicating the possible use of steroids.

July 10, 1998 - The National Rugby League is set to appoint an investigative drugs team and may also penalise clubs whose players test positive to performance-enhancing substances.

July 9, 1998 - Rodney Howe from the Melbourne Storm has been given 22 weeks (maximum penality) for using the banned steroid stanozolol.

July 9, 1998 - The results of three more clubs involved in the first round of blanket-testing were today released, with the 17 players used by Canberra, Manly and Penrith on June 21 proven to be clean.

July 8, 1998 - Newcastle winger Adam MacDougall has returned a positive test on his “A” sample and now waiting for the results of his “B” sample. He has been stood down by Newcastle.

July 3, 1998 - Newcastle has sacked disgraced forward Wayne Richards but kept fullback Robbie O'Davis by the Knights' board.

June 30, 1998 - Newcastle Knights players and officials are standing by fullback Robbie O'Davis and second rower Wayne Richards in the wake of their maximum 22 match rugby league suspensions for using performance-enhancing drugs. 

June 29, 1998 - Robbie O'Davis and Wayne Richards suspended for 22 matches for using the banned drugs stanozolol & androstenedione respectively

June 25, 1998 - Rodney Howe has tested positive to a performance-enhancing drug. 

June 15, 1998 - Robbie O'Davis's succeeded in proving the NRL had no juristiction to hear his case which resulted in all players testing positive before June 20 being charged under the Australian Rugby League's more lenient doping policy.