Wests Forward Fails Pre-Season Drug Test!

Wests Forward Fails Pre-Season Drug Test!
Posted by FoM on February 08, 1999 at 10:33:48 PT

Western Suburbs forward Matt Spence has admitted that recreational drugs were almost certainly responsible for him 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 down until he appears before the National Rugby League drugs tribunal, which has the power to suspend him for up to two years.His management conceded last night that recreational drugs were most likely involved in the test finding - perhaps in combination with a dietary supplement.The revelation follows news of North Sydney and former NSW full-back Matt Seers battling cocaine addiction during the summer and Australian captain Laurie Daley last year going public with claims that many players used Ecstasy and marijuana.NRL chief executive Neil Whittaker last night defended the game, saying almost 1100 tests had been conducted since last July, providing ample evidence that use of such drugs was not widespread.``But as we said when Laurie made his comments, we are part of society and its problems,'' Whittaker said.Spence, a former New Zealand under-17s representative who made 46 first-grade appearances in four years at Parramatta, was making no comment last night.But agent Sam Ayoub said: ``There was certainly no performance-enhancing drugs found by the tests.``Matt has had two knee reconstructions and one shoulder reconstruction since coming to Australia and is very upset about this.``Wests had been really impressed with him since he joined them during the off-season. We really don't know too much about it (the test results) at the moment and we are looking into things now.''The Australian Sports Drug Agency is expected to advise the NRL of the finding this week, at which time a hearing will be organised.Wests chief executive Martin Bullock said: ``Matt is a genuine young man who wants to cooperate in having this matter dealt with in the proper way, but stresses that he has not tested positive to a steroid-based or body-building substance.''Asked if he believed use of such substances was widespread among players, Bullock said: ``I'm probably not equipped to give you an answer. Certainly at this club, I've not seen anything to indicate it, but then this comes out of the blue. This one really surprised me.''Seers returns to action for North Sydney on Saturday in the Country Carnival after undergoing treatment and rehabilitation for cocaine dependency.Last April, Daley told Inside Sport magazine: ``I think there would be players using steroids, but I think the bigger concern is recreational drugs. I'd say Ecstasy and marijuana mainly.``I think it's every club that's got troubles, not excluding ours.``Players have got more money, too much time on their hands and they're looking for other things. I think the last couple of years it's got worse.''Australian Rugby League medical officer Nathan Gibbs said: ``It is a problem in society among 15- to 25-year-olds, and obviously a lot of people in that age group play rugby league,'' he said. ``I don't think it is any more prevalent in rugby league than it is in any nightclub on a Saturday night.''NSW winger Adam MacDougall will appear before the drugs tribunal on 18 February to answer charges relating to an elevated testosterone level.
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