Segeyaro’s career could be over if he isn’t cleared. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
Segeyaro’s career could be over if he isn’t cleared. Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

Segeyaro vows to prove his innocence

James Segeyaro will fight to clear his name at a career-defining interview with ASADA next week and the NRL star is ready to prove his banned substance use wasn't intentional.

The former Cowboys, Panthers, Sharks and Broncos hooker is set to argue his case is "an inadvertent and innocent case of doping."

Segeyaro has been provisionally suspended by the NRL under the league's anti-doping policy after testing positive to di-hydroxy LGD-4033.

Also known as Ligandrol, the substance is banned by the NRL and the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA).

The Sunday Telegraph can also reveal Segeyaro has appointed renowned sports lawyer Tim Fuller, who has previously represented Australian swim team members Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Maddie Groves, when individually they fell under the spotlight of ASADA.

Fuller will be present for Segeyaro's interview with ASADA investigators set down for Thursday in Brisbane.

The 28-year-old was left shattered when informed of the NRL's provisional suspension on Thursday October 3.

Segeyaro's A-sample had revealed a positive reading to the same banned supplement which has left the career of Australian swim team member Shayna Jack in jeopardy.

As permitted, the former Dally M hooker of the year requested his B-sample, which has since returned the same positive reading.

However, unlike Jack, Segeyaro's staunch defence and case to prove he doesn't fall under the category of an anti-doping rule violation won't be centred on a claim of contamination.


The Broncos have yet to offer Segeyaro a new contract. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
The Broncos have yet to offer Segeyaro a new contract. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images


"He's not claiming any contaminated products,'' Fuller said.

"All of his products are sourced from Body Science (nutrition and supplement provider) and they do their own testing on their own products, as well as provide them to their sponsored athletes.

"He's got a record of those orders. He's never bought supplements outside of Body Science.

"He will be defending it and that there's been no intentional doping.

"Obviously the supplement has finished inside his system, in a case of inadvertent doping.

"There are circumstances that absolutely mitigate the fact that the substance has ended up in his system.

"It's an inadvertent and innocent case of doping. That will be the basis of his defence.''

Segeyaro is facing a suspension of up to four-years.

Over the past 12-months, ASADA has closed the gap on providing athletes information and awareness about banned substances through workshops, athlete advisory panels, social media and iPhone apps.

ASADA posted 66 social media posts about banned supplements, including 12 specifically focused on Ligandrol.

Fuller said Segeyaro wouldn't be using a lack of understanding or information related to banned substances as an excuse.

"It's certainly not a claim that he didn't have knowledge or awareness of what is and what isn't a prohibited substance,'' Fuller said.

"He'll argue that there are some really strong mitigating circumstances around his alleged doping.

"He's going to be able to explain that at that interview.''


Heighington will be part of ASADA’s education program. Photo: Alix Sweeney
Heighington will be part of ASADA’s education program. Photo: Alix Sweeney



Next-generation NRL players will be taught by their very-own on how to avoid falling victim to a positive drug test.

Premiership-winners Chris Heighington and Sam Tagataese and respected Intrust Super Cup player Luke Archer have been employed by ASADA to educate 600 of the game's second-tier players throughout NSW, Queensland and Victoria about staying clean.

The motivation for ASADA to engage the trio as "clean sport educators" is due to the identification by the anti-doping agency that a number of rugby league anti-doping rule violations were coming from their sub-elite level - specifically around substances associated with inadvertent doping such as supplement use.

"The NRL have really helped us in ways to understand on how to educate in different ways,'' ASADA CEO David Sharpe said.

"And we certainly know that athlete educators are central to that.

"Through our new intelligence model, we've identified a number of sports and looked at where the risks are that we need to target our resources.

"And we realise that we really want to push down to the sub-elite level, particularly the issue that was concerning me, was the number of inadvertent (doping) cases.''


ASADA hope the trio can promote ASADA's many platforms to seek information around substances while also breaking down any scepticism connected to the agency.

"Not only do they go out and give the message with credibility, but they also work with us in understanding how to deliver a message,'' Sharpe said.

"They will help us to understand how to break it down and take it the lower levels of the NRL.

"The whole concept here is, 'Let's not just go out and test every athlete and every sport at a lower level and get a positive result'.

"We want to educate first, that's a priority.''

Sharpe said ASADA statistics indicated the need to educate footballers from age of 15 and up with 50 per cent of their agency's official phone app downloaded by state-level players.

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