The Different Forces That Will Tear The Cronulla Sharks Apart

Cronulla Sharks fans need to prepare themselves for the worst case scenario.

Right now we are seeing the ASADA investigation into the alleged use of performance enhancing drugs among NRL players gain traction. When you stand back and look at the big picture it is clear that the end game is almost here.

The club has made it stand. By re-employing people that has been sacked earlier in the year the Sharks have thumbed their nose at the National Rugby League. This means that from now on the NRL will stand back as a passive observer. Until such time as a ruling is made, the NRL will do nothing but prepare to clean up the mess that is left over.

Players are looking to secure independent legal representation. They need this. Every discussion that happens from this point forward is loaded with legal terms and consequences that will be written by lawyers. People can talk all they like about players sticking together and not allowing themselves to be split apart by ASADA. That is a fantasy. At the end of the day it will be every man for themselves. Any player that does not have their own legal representation will find themselves at the mercy of a group of individuals looking to get the best deal they can for themselves.

The Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority and the Australian Crime Commission have played a couple of trump cards in recent days. They have waited for the right moment to pounce.

You need to keep in mind that the biggest scalps taken over the last few years in the fight against drugs in sport were not taken with a positive drugs test. They were taken via a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Paperwork, financial record, phone and text records….these are the new tools being use to catch out the drug cheats. These are the things that led to the downfall of the likes of Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriquez.

The media is being leaked information on a regular basis. Many people will suggest that these leaks are coming from ASADA itself in an effort to destabilize the defence they will face from players. Don’t be so sure of that though. There are many forces at work in this whole saga. Information doesn’t get leaked unless someone wants a certain message out there n the public domain to be debated.

Certain sections of the media have been outstanding in the way they have covered this story. Sometimes they have printed information that is uncomfortable to read. Things that have angered fans, players and administrators. Overall though, the media organisations that have not been running an open defence for certain sporting organisations have been outstanding.

It will take one player to break. One player to decide that in six month time they can have all of this behind them and move on with their lives. One player that is willing to go through short term pain to be ready for season kickoff in 2014.

When that happens, dominoes will fall. Lawyers will step up and show you why they earn their money. If it can be proven that a player needs to serve a ban due to being provided with an illegal substance by a club, the club will face legal action for loss of earnings and damage to a players reputation.

The Cronulla Sharks can not afford for that to happen. The Sharks are already in a bad place financially and they will be hard pressed to find a sympathetic ear at the NRL at this stage.

The NRL will not step in until the situation turns dire. At that point the NRL will not need to work around the desires of the club. They will be able to do what ever they deem to be necessary to salvage the Sharks and the 16 team competition they have sold to broadcasters for the next four years.

David Smith and the new National Rugby League administration are running a business. Don’t be shocked if they make a business decision regarding the Cronulla Sharks in the near future. Don’t be shocked if the Sharks are saved by the NRL on the proviso that the club relocates to a new area.

All of these forces are moving in different directions. None of them is thinking about what is in the best interest of the Cronulla Sharks football club. Some would say that is a situation the Sharks have created for themselves. Time will tell on that one.

You see this whole situation isn’t a case of “Us vs Them”. It is every man for themselves. It is about different forces moving in different directions. Make no mistake, there will not be a winner out of this. There won’t be a bad guy to point the finger at and blame them for this mess. All that will be left behind is the mess.

Hopefully Sharks fans are prepared for that….

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