Sharks caught up in new drugs scandal
THE Cronulla Sharks have been rocked by another cocaine scandal just 72 hours after chairman Damian Keogh was charged with drug possession.
Holden Cup player Jesse Savage was charged with possessing 1.4g of white powder, believed to be cocaine, after his arrest in the early hours of Sunday morning outside Fusion nightclub in Cronulla.
The highly regarded young footballer suffered a season-ending knee injury in round three of the competition in March.
The incident is another blow to the image of the club, which spent the weekend placating worried sponsors after Keogh's arrest for drugs possession at a pub in Woolloomooloo on Friday night following a long lunch.
The 55-year-old fronted the media on Monday for the first time since his arrest.
"No, I don't have a drug problem, people who know me know this isn't me, it's not what I'm about," he said.
"I'm very fortunate to have a great family who are very supportive ... they know who I am and what I stand for.
"It's obviously been a very distressing time personally and for the family; just been bunkering down and trying to register things."
Keogh said he stood down as Sharks chairman to distance them from the issue.
"The club's in great shape and they'll move forward, just see how things go," he said.
"It's been a very challenging weekend but it gives me a greater appreciation of what a lot of our players go through when they have issues."
The former pro-basketballer and Olympic representative is chief executive of cinema chain Hoyts, which did not respond to calls about the arrest on Monday.
Meanwhile, Cronulla has informed the NRL's Integrity Unit about the Jesse Savage crisis and started its own investigation.
"The club is aware of the situation and is conducting our own investigation," a club spokesman said.
Police confirmed the Savage incident in a statement.
"About 1am yesterday (Sunday), police were called to a licensed premises on Cronulla St, Cronulla, and spoke to a 20-year-old man," the statement read.
"Police had cause to search the man and allegedly located two small resealable bags containing 1.4g of a white powder, believed to be cocaine. The items were seized, and will undergo forensic examination.
"The man was issued a field court attendance notice charged with possess prohibited drug.
"He will appear at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday, June 1, 2017."
Police sources said that Savage was seen acting suspiciously by security inside the Fusion nightclub at Cronulla and police were called to the premises.
It is claimed staff saw what they believed to be drugs being handed to Savage by an unidentified person inside the club.
Before signing with Cronulla, Savage played for the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans.
His contract is up at the end of this season and the Sharks will make a decision on his future once he has been to court.