Banned Sharks star Bronson Xerri has suggested his doping case “is not what everyone thinks” as he spoke publicly for the first time on Wednesday.
“It was a very tough situation. My mental health wasn’t good at the time,” he said.
“It’s not what everyone thinks it is. I made a mistake, and now I have to pay the consequences.”
He said no representative from the NRL has reached out to him since the ban was first enforced.
His public comments came on the same day reports emerged that the NRL Appeals Tribunal will announce this week that the four-year-ban will be upheld, and will be backdated to the first positive test result in November, 2019.
It means he will not be available to play until the start of the 2024 season.
The 20-year-old is still waiting to hear the verdict from the NRL Appeals Tribunal hearing which concluded in February after he made a last-hope move to save his career by appealing a provisional four-year suspension.
Xerri was provisionally stood down in May after returning a positive result for various performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone. His B-sample to the original positive test also returned a positive result for a banned substance, it was confirmed in September.
His positive test was announced in May, 2020, despite his ban being the result of a drugs test taken in November 2019. Xerri was reportedly the target of an ASADA drug test following a tip-off from a whistleblower, and his initial suspension was announced on the eve of the league’s return from the COVID-19 shutdown.
16 months later he remains provisionally suspended, according to reports, and his ban is not yet official.
Despite still waiting for the final verdict, Xerri on Wednesday night spoke publicly to declare he will not give up on returning to the NRL.