GROUP Seven's Ian Catania has been hit with a two-year ban by Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) after a prohibited substance was found in his system.
Catania, who last played for Warilla-Lake South in 2018, returned an adverse analytical finding from an in-competition doping control test on August 11, following the match between the Nowra-Bomaderry Jets and Gorillas at the Bomaderry Sporting Complex.
The 32-year-old's sample was analysed at the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory, part of the National Measurement Institute, which detected the presence of Benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine).
"Group Seven Rugby League were aware ASADA were conducting random testing at Bomaderry last August and as a result, one Warilla-Lake South player, Ian Catania, has been banned for two years," Group Seven operations manager Peter Mehl said in a statement.
"As part of Country Rugby League, we adhere to their stance on anti-doping, in a hope of making the sport as clean and fair for everyone involved.
"All Group Seven clubs know drug testing can happen at any time, so we hope this sends a message to the rest of the competition about the severity of this matter."
The ban, imposed by Country Rugby League, commenced on August 27, 2018 but wasn't published by ASADA until June 21, 2019.
Catania, who previously played at Shellharbour, is ineligible to participate in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Code compliant anti-doping policy until August 27, 2020.
Cocaine is classed as an S6 stimulant on the prohibited list and is prohibited in-competition.
Generally, cocaine produces an intense 'rush' with users feeling a sense of euphoria, alertness, arousal, and increased confidence.
Many users find the drug addictive and may face a number of short and long term health problems including an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, kidney failure, and seizures or stroke.
The CRL run a number of education programs, particularly through teenage representative teams, around issues like drug use, social media and understanding of concussion protocols.
ACM unsuccessfully contacted Warilla-Lake South for comment.