JARROD Mullen’s career is another step closer to the rugby league scrapheap after his B-sample has returned, confirming a positive test for a banned anabolic steroid.
On Wednesday afternoon the NRL issued the Knights veteran with an official notice of breaching its anti-doping rules on the advice of ASADA.
Mullen now has the opportunity to respond to the notice, with a maximum four-year ban looming for the 29-year-old.
He has been provisionally suspended since an out-of-season test by ASADA last November came back positive for the banned steroid Drostanalone.
Should Mullen choose to contest the findings, he could take the matter to a tribunal and the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
A two-year reduced sanction is considered unlikely unless Mullen divulges information to ASADA, such as how he accessed the steroid and who else was involved in its administration.
The Knights playmaker has battled serious hamstring injuries for the past couple of seasons, raising the prospect of early retirement after 211 games for Newcastle.
With Mullen on a deal understood to be worth around $600,000 a season, the Knights have had to continue paying him a five-figure weekly wage since he was stood down by the club in late January.
The likely termination of his contract will add to Newcastle’s healthy war chest, with a number of recruitment targets including Matt Scott, Jack Bird, Dale Finucane and Matt Prior identified to help rebuild the two-time wooden spooners.
“We obviously remain disappointed with what has transpired but we will continue to respect the process and monitor Jarrod’s welfare,” Knights CEO Matt Gidley said in response to the saga’s latest development.