WHILE drugs in sport is the big subject in the national football codes at the moment, Hastings athletes say there’s little or no usage closer to home.
Port News was told yesterday by a source who has been involved in local rugby league for years that he had only heard of two occasions of players using performance-enhancing drugs.
Port News also spoke with a number of sports stars and representatives about the issue.
Port City Breakers coach Josh Hyde, Port Macquarie Sharks hardman Michael Bright, Port Macquarie Pirates president Steve Shields and Vikings go-to player David Tunstead all believe, for the most part, it isn’t happening in the country competitions.
Hyde said he believed usage in national competitions may be rife, but, alarmingly, said that he thought it all started with the code’s juniors.
“Some kids these days are so big you’d be pretty naive to think it’s not happening,” he said.
“It can be blatantly obvious that they are on something.
“I think the clubs in Sydney get these guys when they are 18 or so, pump them up on this stuff so they build right up, and then they make it in the big grade.
“Then they have to maintain it without drugs so they don’t get caught when they’re tested.”
Bright said there was little point for drugs to be used in group or country football.
“I think it would mostly be happening in Sydney and the cities,” he said.
“There, the better you are, the more you get paid.
“Here, you basically get a pat on the back if you have a good game, so there’s no point in taking something that’s going to wreck your body.”
The union perspective was much the same.
Pirates president Steve Shields said he wanted a blanket ban on drug cheats.
“Look at Lance Armstrong, he’s come out and said he wants to compete in triathlons,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s done his dash.
“It should be the same with drug cheats in any other sport immediately expelled from sport.”
Long-time Vikings player Tunstead said he believed the drug use would be more widespread than people think.
“When you get to the big leagues, everyone’s trying to get that little bit of an edge,” he said
“As soon as one drug is banned, they’ll find another one that doesn’t show up on tests.
“I think the days of clean professional sports are gone.”