Cronulla star Wade Graham has expressed his sympathy for the five Gold Coast players caught up in the cocaine scandal and urged the NRL to act swiftly when deciding their fates.
Two of the players, Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling, will face court next Friday, two days before the Titans’ NRL season opener against Wests Tigers.
The remaining three, Greg Bird and Dave Taylor and outside back Kalifa Faifai Loa, are all set to make their initial court appearances on March 9.
The NRL are likely to impose suspensions on the players after their hearings.
Graham, who was embroiled in the ASADA scandal that engulfed Cronulla for almost two years, said the players would be doing it tough but hoped the NRL would offer them better support that the Sharks received.
“I feel for the players and the club, I know what I’ve read in the media and what I’ve seen,” Graham said.
“I hope the resolution will be quicker rather than later. It benefits no-one it dragging on.
“I just really hope the players are getting the support they need.”
Graham was one of the 10 players banned handed a back-dated three-month ban following the conclusion of the ASADA probe into the Sharks’ supplements programs during the 2011 season.
The former Penrith player said he found it very difficult to cope with being under suspicion and scrutiny for almost two years.
“It’s hard, it’s different circumstances what we went through and what the Titans are going through,” he said.
“You wake up and you have cameras outside the front of your house, cameras in your face at training.
“I think people tend to forget that they are human beings and normal people.
“I hope the NRL have learnt from the our situation, whatever the outcome, there is a duty of care there towards the players.
“You can’t rush due process but I hope it gets sorted out for them because the longer it goes on the harder it is to deal with.”
Graham also said the families of the five players would also be doing it tough and the situation would be harder for them deal with.
“People just looked at Wade Graham the footballer, they didn’t think about my mum and my dad,” he said.
“My little sister who had to go to school and hear things said about me.
“We understand what becomes with being a professional athlete but sometimes when you are dealing with something like this you need a bit of privacy.”