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Rugby League Reference Centre


Doping is harmful to the health of players, totally contrary to the spirit of Rugby League, and contrary to the player’s fundamental right to participate in doping-free competition. For these reasons, the ARLC, the NRL, and all other affiliated bodies condemn the presence of it in our game.

All participants within Rugby League are bound by the League’s Anti-Doping Policy and participants must be aware of their obligations and the rules that apply to them. The League’s Anti-Doping Policy complies with the World Anti-Doping Code, ASADA regulations, and the Rugby League International Federation Anti-Doping Policy.

The League’s Anti-Doping program works collaboratively with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to protect the game against doping through education, intelligence gathering, testing, and results management.

Under the League’s Anti-Doping Policy, any registered player can be tested at any time. Testing is regularly conducted within senior and junior elite and sub-elite levels, from the Holden Kangaroos to the Under 16 representatives. Players are selected on a random or targeted basis both in-competition (match-days) and out-of-competition. The testing program uses all intelligence and research available to identify the areas of highest doping risk and tailors its testing programme accordingly.

It is the responsibility of all participants in rugby league to promote anti-doping in Rugby League. If you are aware that a participant is doping, you can report this confidentially to the following:



NRL (by email):

The Leagues Anti-Doping Policy
Check your substances -
The Prohibited List -

Last updated 3 November 2015


Illicit Drugs

All NRL and NYC players are subject to the NRL’s Illicit and Hazardous Drugs Policy, which operates independently from the NRL clubs and is conducted by an independent and fully certified third party provider. The policy ensures code-wide consistency.

To ensure the program's integrity and effectiveness clubs or players are not aware of the timing or number of drug tests. Samples are collected in a private and controlled environment by third-party personnel with detailed knowledge of Australian and New Zealand testing standards. Substances such as amphetamines (a category that includes as speed, ecstasy and ice), ketamine, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic versions of those drugs are all prohibited under the Policy. In addition to these, the NRL also analyses samples for prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines.

Players found to be using illicit drugs have immediate access to professional support and treatment to overcome the potential effects on their health. A first positive test results in the player receiving a suspended fine, and they must undertake a mandatory treatment program. The player is also placed on a monitoring program which involves targeted testing.

Players who record a second contravention will serve a 12-match ban, the prospect of contract termination, a fine,  and further treatment and monitoring. Third time offenders will face more severe disciplinary action.

Australian Drug Foundation resources:
DrugInfo -
The Other Talk -
Good Sports -

Last updated 3 November 2015



Supplements are no substitute for a balanced, healthy diet and most players will gain little from their use if they have not already optimised their hydration, diet, training and recovery practices. Players contemplating using supplements should be aware of the risks and be able to make well informed decisions.

Players and support staff should consider the following points before using supplements:

  1. Players of all ages and levels will benefit more from good hydration, a balanced diet, well organised training and a healthy lifestyle. Supplements should only be used to complement those, and should not be used to replace deficiencies in those areas.
  2. Players and support staff should only seek and accept advice on the use of supplements from suitably qualified experts, which includes dietitians, and preferably sports dietitians. While there is solid evidence to support the effectiveness of some supplements, there are many for which there is no evidence that they actually work. The NRL also encourages players or support staff to reference the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Sports Supplement website when making any decisions in relation to supplements.
  3. There can be no guarantee that a supplement does not contain other substances that are either prohibited by WADA, unsafe, or unhealthy. Previous studies have revealed that up to 15% of nutritional supplements were contaminated with anabolic-androgenic steroids (mainly prohormones), and that trace amounts of potentially hazardous contaminants were found in 37 of the 40 herbal dietary supplement products tested. Supplements should only be sourced from reputable Australian brands – sourcing substances from overseas is risky given production and labelling standards vary.


Risks Behind Sports Supplements video -
Sports Dietitians Australia -
Informed Sport -
Australian Sports Commission -

Last updated 3 November 2015