An Anonymous Players Account Of Performance Enhancing Drug Use In Rugby League

Yesterday I was contacted by a former amateur Rugby League player that told me about his experiences with the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs during his playing career. I asked him if, on the condition of complete anonymity, he would be willing to share his experiences with the readers at He agree’d to share his story. This is it in its complete form, unedited:

My rugby was coming on leaps and bounds and I started playing full games in the reserves, which lead to a few games in the First team. I got player of the season and the season after I became a regular first teamer at 20yrs old. I had gone from struggling in the Under 18’s to regular first teamer in the National Conference which is the pinnacle of amateur rugby league in England within about 18 months.

Was this due to taking 2-3 tablets before a game? I thought it made me physically and mentally a better player. I ended up getting rep honours, district,county and international honours happened within the next 3 years, I used to have to sneak the pills in my bag, and take them in the toilets so nobody saw me.

As far as i knew I was the only one taking this gear and I didn’t want anyone to find out. I felt like I had an edge over other guys, and when it came to representative games, I didn’t want anyone getting a spot in front of me. On one of the rep games I played I was introduced to pure ephedrine, better than the sudafed tablets and really cheap, 50 quid for a 100 tablets. I started off taking one, then two, then three and eventually in a few big games I would pop five of em. My heart would be nearly jumping out of my chest, I would be sweating loads but my performances were good. I was happy to take them. Ephedrine was easy to get hold of, and more and more players were using it.

I felt like I no longer had the edge so mentally I needed to take more and more. It got to the point where I would consider myself an addict. I couldn’t play without taking any. I’d pretend to be injured if I couldn’t get hold of any pills. I played one reserve grade game without the pills, I had a shocker and the opposition team knew I had played rep footy only the year before. I should have been a stand out performer.

In my mind I couldn’t perform without taking Ephedrine  It was this year that I came across another form of tablet, a higher concentrated dose of Ephedrine called a T5, these were lethal and available in most back street gyms. People have died from taking these but that didn’t stop me having a go of them.

It started off by taking one, then two then three, I couldn’t get enough. One time after a game I felt a funny twinge in my heart, it felt heavy. I was out of breath for a few minutes, which wasn’t uncommon for me as I’m asthmatic too. I went to the docs and he checked me out and gave me the all clear. It scared me to say the least. I stopped taking the super strength tablets but I still wanted to play at the level I was used to so I carried on taking the normal ephedrine tablets right up to emigrating to Australia 5 years ago.

I played in Australia for a couple of seasons, Ephedrine free, partly due to the fact that it is very hard to get it out here. I never played my best out here and maybe that is due to age and condition or maybe it was mental that I wasn’t taking the pills.

I still think back at my career and think would I have reached the heights I got to without Ephedrine and the answer probably would be no. It gave me so much confidence which I took on the field every Saturday afternoon. It gave me the increased stamina I needed and often lacked prior to taking the pills. The side effects that I had were lack of sleep, depression due to it having a major come down effect similar to narcotics. I’ve no idea what long term effects it will have, I’ll just have to play the waiting game.

Ephedrine is widely tested for in NRL & Super League but not at all in the lower leagues, it’s easily available in the UK and is cheap. I don’t regret taking it, but I do regret taking the amount I did. I was addicted, I just never accepted that I was an addict.

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8 thoughts on “An Anonymous Players Account Of Performance Enhancing Drug Use In Rugby League

  1. This is very accurate account of what goes on at the top level of the amateur game in the UK. While never taking ephedrine myself I have seen team mates take it before game and the state it leaves them in after games.

  2. Is this supposed to be a ground breaking revelation? Fuck me, T5s (a fat burning pill) have been around for donkey’s for years, ephedrine not so much. I’ve never taken either due to the risk to your heart, but either way T5s or ephedrine aren’t the issue. Many (but not most) amateur lads use all sorts of stuff in the gym and on the field, from protein shakes to steroids. Just like many other lads in many other gyms the world over.
    HGH is the problem at professional level, not this easily detectable amateur shit. Just because you Aussies have been caught cheating, you try and throw shit at the British amateur game. Idiot.

  3. Just to clarify, part of that sounds wrong – T5s (the slimming pill) have been around for years, Ephedrine on it’s own isn’t in common usage..

  4. What a crock of bull shit this so called “full unedited interview” is. If you are going to write a story, at least make it half believable. It’s even written in bastardised Aussie English.
    Ephidrene very hard to get in Australia??? Give me a fucking break
    A very cynical, worse than amateur attempt to deflect attention from the drug riddled NRL, or at least an attempt to tar all of rugby league with the same brush.
    This isn’t an information site for all things Rugby League by the self proclaimed “king of rugby league”, it’s so sensationalist and false that even the lizard of oz Rupert Murdoch would be envious.
    Grow up mate, your pathological hatred of the UK game is pathetic.

  5. Just to add, there is nothing wrong with banter, but when you stoop to the level of publishing a falsified “interview” to satisfy your own self indulgent and polarised view of a subject (in this case the Super League competition) for all to see then you lose any right to be taken seriously and any right to be respected.
    You are a disgrace to the NRL and to the fantastic sport of Rugby League in general. You should be ashamed.

  6. A few things.

    1. This was not an interview. This is the account of a players Performance Enhancing Drug Use over their career in their own words. Unedited.

    2. The words “Super League” were used once in this entire article, and that was to point out that the drugs used by the player were tested for by Super League but not as much in lower levels of the game.

    3. I am not the NRL. I am not Rugby League. I have no financial stake what so ever in the game. I am not employed by the game in any capacity. I owe nothing what so every to Rugby league.

    If you are looking for a web site full of cheerleaders that will tell you everything is rosy, you’ve come to the wrong place.

    If something is wrong in this game, I will be the first to point it out.

    This was a fantastic insight given to readers of my site thanks to a former player who was willing to be open an honest about their Performance Enhancing Drug use of their career.

  7. The poms are a bunch of whinging cunts arent they.. to the point i think they gave themselves the nick name.

    there is a reason why 80% of the planet hates the whinging poms.. they do it to themselves.

  8. Mancpie, Bradsdags – This was a totally unedited interview, I know this cos I’m the player involved. I played National Conference rugby for years. Mancpie, your obviously from Manchester ,well you would know some of the players I played against form that region, mainly Eccles lads, Mcatee, Raftrey, Morley’s brother and Ian Mort. Your wrong about Epherdrine, it has been around for years and still is, T5’s only came around my area in the mid-2000’s, before that Epherdrine was the only stuff available. Epherdrine is one of the main ingredients in a T5, well it was in the ones we took. Epherdrine is near on impossible to get in Australia due to it being illegal to get and all the bikies get hold of it to make pills. Believe me i tried to get some so lay off Leaguefreak, I approached him about my story, he agreed to put it on here unedited. It’s genuine. Please can you explain Bradsdags what is “bastardised aussie english”, if you ever heard me you’d soon realise I’m as Yorkshire as they come !!

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