Sharks rally around banned Xerri

Concerned Cronulla players are rallying around teammate Bronson Xerri’s mental health after the banned back declared he wants to challenge a potential four-year ban at the NRL’s Anti-Doping Tribunal.

Xerri, 19, is facing an uncertain future after he was provisionally stood down in May after returning a positive result for various performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone.

The hearing is likely to occur within six to eight weeks with Xerri and his lawyer needing to provide an extraordinary level of detail and information to be given any chance of avoiding a lengthy ban.

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Bronson Xerri has plenty of backing among the Sharks players.Source:AAP

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Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo is close friends with Xerri and reached out to him this week to offer his support.

Mulitalo also revealed that other Cronulla players have contacted their teammate via FaceTime as they can’t meet in person being in the NRL bubble.

“We reached out just to let Bronson know that we are here for him as a team and as individuals,” Mulitalo said.

“He knows that we are here for him and if he ever does it tough, he can always lean back on us.

“We just wanted to let him know that we still love him.

“He is one of my best mates – I love the kid on and off the field.

“A couple of the boys have had a FaceTime with him to make sure that he is okay mentally.

It's Bronson Xerri's last chance to prove his innocence and avoid a potential four-year ban. https://t.co/5Uv5ZS2jxY

“That is all we need to know and that is all we care about is the mental side of what is going on.

“At the end of the day this is a game and he is kid and his mental health comes before anything else and we want to make sure that is all right.”

Mulitalo felt more compelled to reach out to Xerri given he can’t physically meet up with his teammates while they are in the NRL bubble.

“You can’t go and have a coffee and catch up, but he understands what we are going through here, and we understand what he is going through,” he said.

“A text message goes a long way, as well as a FaceTime or something like that.

“But it is up to the NRL and he and his family to decide.

“All I can do is offer my support to him and let him know that if he needs something to reach out because we are definitely here.”

Ronaldo Mulitalo says he has been in touch with Xerri.Source:Getty Images

Sharks back Josh Dugan hasn’t contacted Xerri, but as someone who has experienced mental battles himself, he is only a phone call away for his young teammate.

“I hope he is all right and if it is a case of a false positive, then I hope he does fight it,” Dugan said.

“The rest is up to his legal team and ASADA, obviously.”

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