Todd Carney of the Sharks goes down in pain during the Second NRL Elimination Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Canberra, Australia.
Todd Carney of the Sharks goes down in pain during the Second NRL Elimination Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the Cronulla Sharks at Canberra Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. Stefan Postles / Getty Images

Sharks doping dilemma raises questions for footy fans

LIKE 99% of rugby league fans I'm scratching my head wondering how Sharks players face bans for taking substances in 2011 that are now banned, but were not at the time.

Does that mean that someone with a blood alcohol reading of .07 in 1978 when the legal limit was .08, can now be charged with drink driving?

And could I be retrospectively fined for using a hand-held mobile phone in my car a decade ago?

Don't get me wrong - if these blokes knowingly took banned substances, they have cheated and deserve to have the book thrown at them.

And they deserve an additional sentence for stupidity, believing they could get away with it.

We are not au fait with the facts, but from the outside looking in this situation appears murky.

Doubtless, additional information will come to light.

What we can assume, however, is that if players are suspended for taking substances recommended by their medical staff, a legal minefield will develop.

Already, apparently, some Sharks players have fronted their former conditioner, seeking a please explain.

And if they continued to take the drugs after they were added to the banned list, then surely the club is equally as culpable.

Under these circumstances, any player missing six to 24 months of his career - and not paid - would seem to be well within his rights to seek compensation.

Maybe that 'blackest day' referred to on February 7 is not too far away. Stay tuned.

Nine's big joke

Channel 9 paid the highest price in history to clinch the rights to an Australian sport, and at their first opportunity have dudded the fans.

And network management wonders why viewers are cynical of their incessant grab for live sport.

Thursday night's clash between the Rabbitohs and Roosters was one of the most-anticipated NRL openers in decades.

A near sell-out crowd in Sydney for a club match is all the evidence anyone needs to make that assessment.

Yet Channel 9, in Queensland, decided to replay the match at 8pm - an hour after it had kicked off.

This is contemptible, particularly in view of the saturated SBW OMG promo the network ran leading up to this match.

At last Friday's Broncos launch I spoke to Nine's Queensland boss, and we discussed the first two games this week - the Broncos-Sea Eagles and the Rabbitohs-Roosters clash - and she was pumped.

We talked about the big crowds, and possible record ratings.

But she didn't tell me last night's opener would be delayed.

But then, she would not be happy about that either, and the decision would not have been hers.

When the Nine network recently paid $475 million for the NRL free-to-air rights for the next five years, managing director David Gyngell was quoted as saying - in respect of the amount they were forced to pay - 'we feel like losers'.

Join the club David, because so do we.

Dismal Des

In his heyday not many coaches could aim an acidic tongue at a journalist better than Wayne Bennett, and Ricky Stuart and John Cartwright can both be tough to deal with when not in the best of moods.

But from what I have seen of Des Hasler recently he takes pole position as Captain Grumpy, and is easily the most unpleasant coach with whom the media has to deal.

And that demeanour was plainly evident at a Bulldogs press conference last Monday.

Quite clearly, Hasler attended the press conference under sufferance, and was generally rude and disrespectful.

At one stage - mid-sentence answering a question - he asked a reporter his name.

Admittedly things have not been all beer and skittles for Hasler and the Bulldogs since grand final day.

As well as losing the big one they behaved abominably on Mad Monday and have started 2013 under the Ben Barba microscope.

But Hasler hasn't exactly been treated poorly by the media, despite his grumpy exterior.

In fact he has been rightly hailed as a coaching messiah. Yet he never appears to enjoy his job.

What an unpleasant way to spend his days.