Sport

Henry outraged as Cowboys name is dragged through mud

North Queensland Cowboys coach Neil Henry.
North Queensland Cowboys coach Neil Henry. Ian Hitchcock / Getty Images

THE Cowboys could consider a defamation case after being named as one of six clubs in an Australian Crime Commission anti-doping report.

It emerged yesterday that North Queensland became the subject of anti-doping investigators, but only for one or more players' experiences at another team, before joining the Townsville-based club.

No Cowboys players or support officials have been interviewed by anti-drug personnel.

This has angered coach Neil Henry, speaking out after believing his club's name has been unfairly tarnished.

"The way the whole thing's been handled is a disgrace," he said.

"To me, I think it's embarrassing for the NRL to come out and to mention that there are six teams.

"We're forced into a situation to defend ourselves against something we don't even know about."

Henry said the Cowboys would let the investigation play its due course and co-operate with it, but could consider taking further action at the lack of evidence presented against his club.

"The damage that it's done so far, who knows," he said.

"I don't know, I'm a bush lawyer, is there defamation there?

"We're all for no drugs in sport.

"We've always toed that line, and we're all for an open approach to all of this.

"But the way it's transpired and the way it's come out has been poorly handled."

Henry said because he felt the Cowboys' brand had been damaged already, his players were finding it hard to focus on their football.

"I suppose there was a bit of disbelief about the whole thing and it was laughed off as 'what's going on?'" he said.

"But there is a little bit of anger there with the fact that we've been lumped in, in some sort of way, without any evidence.

"They're getting asked questions that they shouldn't be getting asked."

Knights coach Wayne Bennett said he couldn't find anything to confess to on Tuesday, with Newcastle being one of the six clubs named.

Henry, too, cannot find a reason to come forward and admit to witnessing any untoward behaviour at his club.

"There's been nothing - we've got no information to say that we've in any way done anything with performance-enhancing drugs at this club," he said.

"There's been no shred of evidence so far.

"(High performance manager) Paul Bowman, our players, our fans, we're a community-owned club.

"It's just wrong. It's farcical."
 

Topics:  acc, defamation, drugs, neil henry, north queensland cowboys, nrl, rugby league



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