Melbourne Storm players deny drug claim  

Article from:  

Russell Gould 

July 24, 2009 12:00am 


MELBOURNEStorm's State-of-Origin stars have assured the club they weren't involved in the alleged use of a home-made party drug by Queensland players in the lead-up to Origin III in Brisbane last week. 

Allegations have been made that some players mixed the prescription sleeping tablet Stilnox with energy drink Red Bull while partying during the pre-match camp.

It's believed the combination of Stilnox and Red Bull can have the same effect as cocaine and is popular with footballers across all codes because neither substance is banned.

The pill was made available to Queensland players to help them sleep but NRL chief medical officer, Dr Ron Muratore, yesterday said that was a dangerous practice.

He urged club doctors to be cautious in prescribing it.

"You're talking about some nasty, nasty side effects with this stuff. People sleep-walk, hallucinate, turn psychotic.

"Some have been known to do themselves in. And that's all before you start mixing it with energy drinks or alcohol.

''You throw that into the mix and it's even more dangerous. I wouldn't be prescribing Stilnox to my players."

The allegations will be investigated by the Queensland Rugby League, which is also looking into claims of excessive drinking by some players in the build-up to the game, which Queensland lost.
Storm had five players - Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Dallas Johnson and Cooper Cronk - in the Maroons camp.

Storm chief executive Brian Waldron said he was confident his players had behaved appropriately.
"We are very comfortable with the behaviour of all our players who were involved in Origin."

But Waldron hoped the QRL probe was thorough and any necessary penalties dished out because the allegations could damage the reputation of all the 2009 Maroons.

"When these issues are raised it is a warning sign and they need to be addressed, particularly when the game and its players' image could be tarnished," Waldron said.

QRL boss Ross Livermore said he had asked for anyone with information about the claims to contact him.

He said all allegations would be investigated as part of an overall review of the Queensland Origin camp next week.

"We don't want things to be swept under the carpet," he said. "But I'm not just going to be punching at shadows until we have the meeting and the evidence is brought forward."

Queensland prop David Shillington had a simple response to the Stilnox cocktail controversy: "If that was happening, mate, I wasn't invited.

''But I can understand why Queensland fans would be filthy to hear something like that. I can also understand why the boys would be upset when stuff like that comes out without any facts."

With the QRL promising to come down hard on anyone found guilty of using the party drug prior to Origin III, both Shillington and captain Darren Lockyer have denied any knowledge of the practice.

"I was so tired at the end of every day from the build-up of all that nervous energy and a couple of the sessions we had under (conditioner) Billy Johnstone, I didn't need sleeping tablets," Shillington said.

Lockyer yesterday admitted Stilnox was available to Maroons players during the camp, but said it was only to help them sleep.

Lockyer denied any knowledge of the sleeping pill/Red Bull combination and said he was comfortable with the behaviour of his teammates.

"I was more than satisfied with the team's commitment over the whole series including game three," he said.  


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