Strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin has been given the green light to resume his career in the NRL from December 2015.
The former Cronulla and Parramatta trainer had his involvement in the game provisionally cancelled late last year over his involvement in the Sharks’ controversial 2011 supplement program.
But Elkin received some good news on Friday, with his penalty changed from indefinite deregistration to suspension after he fronted the NRL’s Appeals Committee.
Provided Elkin meets a strict range of conditions, he will be free to apply to have his suspension lifted and return to the game in 18 months’ time.
The Appeals Committee chaired by Ian Callinan QC and also featuring former NSW Sports Minister Michael Cleary and ex-player Luke Priddis upheld the NRL’s original decision that Elkin should be banned for at least a two year period.
On December 17 2013, Elkin and Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan were sanctioned for the negligence they showed to player welfare, in overseeing the club’s supplement program – which has been under investigation by ASADA since February of last year.
The Sharks club was also fined $1 million, with $400,000 suspended, for governance failures.
Flanagan is free to return to the helm of the Sharks in August, provided he continues to abide by strict guidelines.
NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle says the NRL’s Appeals Committee determined Elkin’s penalty should apply for a period of 21 months from March 6, 2014.
Elkin will be able to apply to have his suspension lifted in December 2015, should he complete an intensive education and training course focused on work place health and safety and the use and administration of dietary and other supplements.
The course will also cover the NRL rules, including those relating to anti-doping and the Code of Conduct as well as other integrity and ethical training.
Elkin will also have to satisfy the NRL panel that he understands what’s expected of him as a strength and conditioning coach.
He is not allowed to have any direct or indirect contact with NRL clubs, teams or players during his suspension.
“We are pleased that the committee has adopted a strong stance on this issue, consistent with that taken by the NRL, and we will implement its findings relating to Mr Elkin,” Doyle said.
“We have a fair and independent process in place to ensure that these matters are dealt with professionally and transparently.”