RENI Maitua's NRL career is all but over after the Sharks lock yesterday accepted a two-year ban for testing positive to a prohibited substance.
The likelihood that another rugby league club will offer Maitua a second chance when his Worldwide Anti-Doping Authority ban ends at midnight on May 19, 2011, is very slim.
Cronulla had already thrown the 27-year-old one lifeline only to watch a promising but unfulfilled career unravel horribly after an Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority test taken on May 1, 2009, revealed the presence of the banned substance Clenbuterol, which is prohibited under the WADA list.
NRL boss David Gallop says while Maitua has paid a high price, he stands by the league's strong stance against drugs.
"The penalty is a stark reminder of the need for all players to be vigilant about any substance they take," Gallop said yesterday. "The NRL remains committed to a stringent anti-doping program."
Maitua has been provisionally suspended since May 20 and will be free to resume playing from midnight on May 19, 2011 when he will be nearly 29 years of age.
Maitua yesterday issued a statement confirming that he had decided not to contest the ban. "Prior to this result I, like all NRL players, have been tested on many occasions and I have never had a positive test in my NRL career," the statement read.
"Until I received the results of the testing, I had not ever heard of Clenbuterol. I am still not aware what it does or what it is claimed to do.
"I did not knowingly ever consume this substance or any other banned substance. I have no idea how this substance came to appear in my sample but I accept that it has.
"I understand my ignorance or lack of any intention on my part to breach anti-doping guidelines is no excuse. As a professional NRL player under the NRL's anti-doping policy, I have a responsibility to ensure that I do not digest, even by accident, a prohibited substance.
"I accept that I have breached the policy and, as much as it pains me, I accept the punishment I shall suffer.
“It is too early at this stage to even contemplate whether at
the end of the ban I would seek to play again in the NRL.
“I would like to thank all those coaches, players and supporters who have assisted me in my rugby league career.
“I reserve a special thanks to my family and partner Natalie who have endured undeserved scrutiny but have always stood by me.
“I realise that many of you may feel that I have let you down and, if so, I apologise for this.”
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