Cronulla centre Bronson Xerri is "devastated" after being told he had tested positive to performance-enhancing drugs.
The 19-year-old Shark issued a statement via his agent, Titan Management's David Riolo, on Wednesday, 24 hours after being informed he had been provisionally suspended under the NRL's Anti-Doping Policy.
"I’m devastated but I’m bound by the system so there is not much more I can say at this stage," he said.
"There is a process in place that I am required to follow.
"I’m shattered I’m not playing with the boys this weekend and I wish them all the best for Saturday."
Xerri had been set to make his comeback from a shoulder injury for Cronulla in Saturday's Bankwest Stadium clash with the Wests Tigers in the first round of the restarted NRL season.
He is facing a possible multi-year suspension after he was alleged to have tested positive to several banned performance-enhancing substances, including steroids, late last year.
Xerri was provisionally suspended under the NRL's Anti-Doping Policy on Tuesday, just hours before he was to be named for a return from injury for the Sharks against Wests Tigers in round three.
He will now have the opportunity to have his B-sample analysed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, and is unable to play any form of rugby league while provisionally suspended.
An NRL statement confirmed Xerri is alleged to have returned a positive A-sample "for exogenous Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol" when tested on November 25, 2019.
Several of the substances are anabolic steroids, or compounds that are tested to detect the use of steroids.
All are prohibited under both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL's Anti-Doping Policy, with the testing conducted last year by ASADA.
At the time of his positive test the 19-year-old was recovering from off-season shoulder surgery following an impressive rookie season for the Sharks.
Xerri also underwent a minor operation for a groin injury over the summer, but it was the rehabilitation of his shoulder that held him back from Cronulla's first two games of 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdown.
A Sharks statement said the "club has been in contact with Bronson and has offered him full welfare support as he deals with this situation".