Sydney Roosters prop Martin Kennedy suspended for more than two years for breaching NRL anti-doping policy

Former Sydney Roosters prop Martin Kennedy’s NRL career is in tatters after he was suspended for two years and nine months for breaching the league’s anti-doping policy.

A statement released by the NRL said Kennedy was found guilty of the following violations of the anti-doping policy:

Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority (ASADA) CEO Ben McDevitt described the actions of Kennedy during the 2012 off-season as “disturbing” from a player in “one of Australia’s most popular codes”.

“It is incredibly disappointing that Mr Kennedy chose to resort to performance-enhancing drugs in the off-season instead of hard work and determination,” McDevitt said. “Athletes make many sacrifices in training to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. ASADA will continue to protect those athletes who make the right decisions and honest sacrifices when it comes to their training and performance.”

Kennedy has been suspended from participating – as an athlete or in a support role – in all sports that have a WADA anti-doping policy until December 19, 2017. His ban has been backdated because his provisional suspension commenced in March last year.

The NRL Tribunal, chaired by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, was “comfortably satisfied” Kennedy ordered each of the substances, paid for them, before chasing up the delivery of the substances.

Kennedy became increasing concerned when the drugs were not delivered on time, meaning he had less time to use the substances – bought so he could “increase his size and strength” in the lead-up to the 2013 season.

Although the maximum sentence for such a violation would normally be two years, Kennedy was handed another nine months for trying to delete evidence on his phone.

The tribunal believed Kennedy deserved extra time out of the game because of “aggravating circumstances” in which he purposely deleted the contents of his phone because ASADA had asked to seize his mobile to look through it.

“This matter also shows there are serious consequences for athletes who deliberately obstruct an ASADA investigation,” McDevitt said.

Kennedy, 26, was issued with an infraction notice last March and provisionally suspended by the NRL over claims of possession and attempted use of multiple banned substances.

NRL Head of Integrity Nick Weeks said the decision highlighted the code’s commitment to a drug-free sport.

“The NRL remains committed to eliminating performance-enhancing drugs in our game,” Weeks said. “Drug-free sport is essential in ensuring a fair competition and a safe working environment for our players, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to achieve this. Today’s decision of the Anti-Doping Tribunal demonstrates and furthers that effort.”

Kennedy debuted for the Roosters in the opening round of the 2009 season – a game in which his side was trounced 52-12 by South Sydney – before going on to play 66 games for the tri-colours across five seasons.

He joined Brisbane in 2014 and notched up 16 appearances – including a qualifying final loss against North Queensland – before he was provisionally suspended by the NRL.

Kennedy has 21 days to appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.