Ian McCullough and Russell Jackson, AAP
Suspended Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan vowed to clear his name as Sharks captain Paul Gallen claimed his punishment was the result of a lack of leadership at the NRL club during the 2011 season.
Flanagan said via a statement on Wednesday night he's ready to fight the NRL's one-year suspension which relates to the club's supplements program in 2011 and is ready to go to the Supreme Court to clear his name.
"One thing is for sure, I am going to fight this decision until I am exonerated and my reputation is totally restored," the statement read.
NRL chief Dave Smith announced earlier on Wednesday they had rejected Flanagan's appeal against his suspension and said player welfare was of paramount importance and why he issued the ban.
The cash-strapped Sharks did not replace experienced chief executive Richard Fisk, who quit the club in 2010 after Ricky Stuart's departure as coach, and had no CEO until Bruno Cullen was put in place and funded by the NRL last year.
Cullen left after just five months with former Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers chief Steve Noyce taking over.
Gallen said that after Fisk's departure, Flanagan was effectively running the club and unsure, when questioned, if he felt he deserved a ban.
"I go back to 2011 and think about some of the issues that we had at the club," Gallen told the Nine Network.
"We had no CEO, no recruitment officers for juniors or seniors, very little people in the marketing department and Flanno was across all of this and trying to raise money.
"There were a lot of governance issues back then and a lot of things he had to deal with. He was under a lot of pressure back then."
Gallen is one of several players who were interviewed by ASADA as part of their investigation which has now concluded, and is being reviewed by former Federal Court Judge Garry Downes who'll decide whether it should be taken forward.
And the NSW skipper said he's braced for a major development should Downes find there is a case to answer.
"That's what we're expecting," he said.
"We know this (today's developments) has nothing to do with the players, this is all to do with the club and the governance of the club and Shane Flanagan and the players are next.
"ASADA has finished their investigation and now we're waiting on their findings.
"We'll be waiting a couple more months by the sound of it ... this has become a welfare issue for the players and the staff."