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Cronulla Release Ben Barba After Positive Drug Test

UPDATE:

Ben Barba has been released from his playing contract by NRL premiers Cronulla in the wake of testing positive to cocaine in the days after the Sharks' grand final triumph.

The Sharks released a statement on Tuesday saying fullback Barba would be taking time away from the game to address "some significant personal issues".

The club said the former Dally M Medal winner had on Monday night left to attend an intensive overseas rehabilitation program.

"I know and accept I need to take some time away from the game to deal with some personal issues," Barba said in a statement.

"I am accountable for myself and my actions and if I don't address them now I will certainly ruin my career and more importantly my life and that of my family.

"I hope to return to the game at some stage and am very grateful for the support of the Cronulla Sharks and I hope that one day I can again play beside this terrific bunch of guys."

Added club CEO Lyall Gorman: "This is an incredibly difficult situation for Ben, his family and our club and all involved with it.

"While Ben will be a major loss to our football club, the far greater priority is for him to focus on his long term future away from football and we will continue to support Ben throughout that process in any way we can."

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EARLIER:

It's been alleged this morning Cronulla Sharks star fullback Ben Barba has tested positive to cocaine four days after the Sharks drought breaking Grand Final win.

Barba now faces the prospect of receiving a 12-week suspension from the beginning of the 2017 season.

The Daily Telegraph has revealed Barba was tested four days after the grand final victory over Melbourne Storm and that Barba and the club were notified by the NRL of the positive result two weeks ago.

It is the second time Barba has tested positive to recreational drugs.

Under the NRL drugs policy, a second strike means an automatic 12-match suspension, and it's believed Barba is about to receive treatment at a Thailand rehab facility.

The former Bulldogs and Broncos player spent time in rehab in 2013 to deal with anger issues and a gambling addiction.

In September all NRL clubs and players had been warned about their behavior during end-of-season celebrations.

Integrity unit boss Nick Weeks said this in an email to all 16 clubs. 

“Players should be particularly aware that they are subject to testing in the period immediately following their team’s elimination from the competition, including after end-of-season celebrations and the like,”

“This is a risk period for players and clubs so please take this opportunity to remind players about the league’s expectations (and the rules) in relation to illicit drugs.” 

Daily Telegraph

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