Banned players take prescription drugs

WARRIORS rugby league players banned from playing for the Kiwis and dropped to reserve grade admitted to mixing prescription drugs with energy drinks on their night on the town, after they were part of the 42-0 loss to Melbourne Storm.

The players have also been punished for breaching club standards, amid concerns for their health.

NZRL interim chief executive Alex Hayton has confirmed to Radio Sport that his organisation was passed information from the Warriors that Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson had mixed prescription drugs and energy drinks.

“The Warriors kept us informed all the way through the process with the selection and Stephen (Kearney). It’s an issue we had back after the (2013) World Cup. We have a stance we’ve taken on this so based on the information we’ve had from the Warriors the decision was made not to select those players.”

Vatuvei, Matulino and Thompson were ruled out of Friday night’s Test against the Kangaroos in Newcastle, when the club prevented them from being selected. Sam Lisone (Samoa), Konrad Hurrell and Albert Vete (Tonga) were also ruled out of playing for their countries.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle yesterday reaffirmed the club’s position on the players who were disciplined last week in the wake of the loss to Melbourne on Anzac Day.

“We’re continuing to deal with this internally focusing on player welfare. We won’t be going into any details and we won’t be making any further comment,” he said.

Use of prescription drugs on social occasions has been a mounting problem for rugby league.

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