The NRL has handed out provisional suspension to Sydney Roosters prop Martin Kennedy over allegations that he breached anti-doping policy of the game through the possession and attempted use of banned substances.
Kennedy was issued with an infraction notice and has now been suspended by the NRL. According to a statement released by the NRL, the matter would now proceed to the anti-doping tribunal and Martin Kennedy faces a risk of a two-year ban if the allegations are proved correct. Kennedy was originally issued with the notice in late 2013 when he was associated with the Brisbane Broncos but he repeatedly lied when asked if he had been charged under the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Code.
The 26-year-old returned to the Roosters after spending an unhappy one-year spell with the Brisbane Broncos. Broncos CEO Paul White said Kennedy was released for rugby league reasons and added it had nothing to do with the story in the newspapers. The Broncos CEO also remarked we are obviously restructured our entire roster and Martin was one of those players that moved onto another club as part of that restructure. He went on to add that we have never had any contact with any agencies and also said that Martin's no longer at our club so we have got no cause to make any further comment on it.
It is believed that the doping allegations pertain to multiple substances, including a testosterone-based compound. The allegations are believed to be based on a series of text message exchanges with suspended Canberra winger Sandor Earl and one of their former schoolmates.
Under the WADA code, the Sydney Roosters prop would be banned from playing for the Roosters or any other rugby league team while he is serving suspension. Kennedy would also be ineligible to train with any team or be involved in any administrative activities.
In a statement, the Roosters said the club has only today been made aware of the allegations against Kennedy and the club wishes to reinforce that it maintains the absolute highest standards in its own policies and governance.
Reacting on the suspension, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson said he and the club do not hold it against Martin Kennedy for not communicating to them about drug allegations against him. Robinson maintained that was he was "not disappointed" in Kennedy for that and said that was a personal decision from his point of view and there are obviously reasons for that and they're obviously very private. The Sydney Roosters coach also remarked that his focus was on the welfare of Kennedy and added he has spoken to him both on Wednesday morning and then Thursday and Friday morning just to make sure that he is good and that he understands the club's point of view and that we are there to help if he needs anything personally over the next couple of days.
Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said Kennedy is suspended from club activities, beyond that we will provide individual assistance to Martin. He added it is a suspension at this stage so Martin Kennedy continues to be paid until further notice from the NRL.