Cronulla Sharks boss Dino Mezzatesta has expressed his disappointment in ASADA over their handling of Bronson Xerri's positive drug test, stating if the club had known earlier they would not have granted Josh Morris a release to join Sydney Roosters.
The NRL has been shaken only days from the competition restart following the news of Bronson Xerri's positive A-sample drug test containing five different types of prohibited substances including anabolic steroids and testosterone.
Though ASADA has come under fire throughout the rugby league world as the test was conducted in November last year and ultimately blindsided the Sharks ahead of the season's resumption.
Club chairman Dino Mezzatesta has tried to search for an explanation but hasn't been able to reach the government's anti-doping department.
“That’s a matter really for the NRL to take up with ASADA but it does seem like a long process,” Mezzatesta said.
“Our hope is that the process isn’t anywhere near as long to conclude.
“It could be more damaging not only for the individual and club but the code itself."
He continued to explain that the lengthy process and late announcement has hurt the club's list as they weren't made aware of Xerri's situation.
The Sharks agreed to release fellow centre Josh Morris from his contract in March to join his twin brother Brett in the Eastern Suburbs, but he explained had they'd known, Morris would still be donning sky blue and black.
“That’s one of the reasons why we’re quite disappointed in the length of time that it’s taken to notify not only the NRL but the club,” Mezzatesta continued.
“Things may have been completely different for us.
“So absolutely, had we been notified early, we may have well-taken things very differently in our approach to our playing roster.”
Xerri will soon undertake a B-sample test. If returned positive the 19-year-old could be facing a four-year suspension.
The Cronulla Sharks in the meantime will have to prepare for life without their young star, as they relaunch their campaign on Saturday evening against the Wests Tigers.