It sadly looks like we will have to get used to the negatives headlines we have seen and heard since the NRL took action against the Raiders player, Sandor Earl.
We have to assume that he may be the first, but he won’t the last.
And we can now define a difference between the AFL inquiry and the NRL inquiry by ASADA, and possibly other agencies.
The AFL inquiry has been almost totally focused on the Essendon club – and more particularly on the coach, his assistants and the club doctor.
While the position is still uncertain, it would seem the fallout for Essendon players might be much less severe. Time will tell.
On the other hand it is increasingly evident the ASADA inquiry into the NRL is across more than one club, and focused on players more than coaches and officials.
We know that players from more than one club – the Sharks – have been interviewed.
And the first player to fall by the wayside apparently infringed when he was at the Penrith Panthers.
In some respects the course for the NRL is much less uncertain than for the AFL.
The AFL knew at the start of the investigation that Essendon was the target – and probably who was the target.
The NRL would know who has been questioned, but as we saw overnight things can come out of left field.
All of this will probably come as a surprise to many fans who had believed this was a Sharks players problem – and a former Sharks players problem.
We just don’t know how wide the net is being cast….or will be cast.
One assumes Sandor Earl has just one option – and that is unless he wants to end his football career completely he is going to have to “name names”.
The way ASADA operates, there are scaled remissions for pleading guilty, but substantial remissions for giving evidence against others.
There are surely a few players who will be feeling rather uneasy today!
I wrote recently that I hoped the NRL was learning from the largely incompetent way the AFL and Essendon have handled things.
It was apparently told by ASADA on Wednesday of the admissions by Sandor Earl.
It announced his standing down yesterday.
That is a quite adequate response.
The challenge will be to maintain an open and transparent stance as the going gets tougher, and, I fear, much tougher!