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Tackling drug use in rugby league

By Rebecca Stephenson
Rugby League Extra

Gareth Hock of Wigan Warriors
Suspended: Gareth Hock

How should the game tackle the use of drugs in sport? A two-year suspension or a life ban?

The sport was dealt a severe blow this week with the news of Gareth Hock's positive drugs test.

The Wigan second-rower has been provisionally suspended, after testing positive for cocaine following the game against Salford on June 5th. His 'B' sample will be tested on 30th June.

Of course we all hope that this will prove to be clear, but it has raised the question of what measures should be taken.

The accepted suspension is two years and Rugby League Extra's studio guests Adrian Morley and Kris Radlinski both said that, should Hock be found guilty, he has to be prepared to pay the price and face that penalty.


Jack Dearden asked if a two-year ban is enough in these situations. He believes that there should be a policy of zero tolerance in all sports ie if you are proven to have taken drugs, you should be banned for life.

This prompted a debate in our studio - one which continued long after our final hooter. Trev, Kris and Adrian all believe in a second chance; that sportsmen should only be thrown out should they re-offend.

The challenge is how to stop it happening in the first place. Would a zero tolerance policy act as a bigger deterrent? Do we have to make bigger examples of cheats to teach youngsters that it can never be acceptable under any circumstances?

Or do we look to rehabilitate, allowing offenders to serve their punishment and reform? And does it matter if it is a social drug or a performance enhancing substance?

Thrown to the Wolves?

This week also saw Ritchie Myler turn down a lucrative contract offer at Salford. Like all Reds fans, I was sad, although not surprised, to hear the news.

Sean Mcrae told us that Myler is under contract at the club until 2010, and hopes something can be done. But Adrian Morley may have let the 'cat out of the bag', admitting it looks like he may be heading to Warrington. (Does he know something?)

Trev and Jack both agreed with Robbie Paul, who told us that it could be in the best interests of both the youngster AND Salford for him to be sold. It would give the club a cash injection, whilst giving the player a better chance of winning silverware imminently.

Adrian Morley believes that his decision depends on what makes him tick: money, trophies, loyalty…or something else.

If you were Myler - what would you do? If you were in charge of the club, would you cash in?

Email us at manchestersports@bbc.co.uk

Rugby League Extra is on Thursdays, 6pm - 8pm.

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