Wellington: The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is reportedly investigating whether players misused prescription drugs during the recent World Cup campaign, which they lost to Australia in the final at Old Trafford in Manchester on November 30.
The NZRL is reviewing the unsuccessful defence of the World Cup, which culminated in a 34-2 defeat to Australia and under the microscope is whether players combined prescription sleeping pills with energy drinks.
According to Stuff.co.nz, past reports have suggested a number of Australian league players have used such a blend, which is believed can have the same effects as recreational drugs without breaching the World Anti-Doping Code, with NZRL chief Phil Holden saying the first step is determining players` access to prescription drugs.
Stating that the NZRL probe will investigate whether the players` performance in the World Cup final was inhibited by their use of prescription drugs, Holden also said that the World Cup final is also a part of the probe, adding that they are concerned about it from a player welfare perspective and whether it is an appropriate use of medication.
Prescription sleeping pills have been at the centre of other major sporting controversies across the Tasman, including triple Olympic swimming champion Grant Hackett admitting a `heavy reliance` on them during his career, the report added.