Concerned Cronulla players have met a number of times to discuss the club's mention in the Australian Crime Commission report into alleged doping at the NRL club amid reports the Australian Sports Anti-Doping agency wants to have some of Sharks stood down for six months.
Cronulla called an emergency board meeting last night following the reports, a night after a number of players and their managers met to discuss the ongoing ASADA investigation. It was the sixth time players had met as an unofficial group.
With the Sharks' season-opener against Gold Coast coming on Sunday, board members convened at an undisclosed location to talk about the crisis that could engulf the club.
The move came amid News Ltd reports that ASADA is trying to arrange to have some players stood down immediately for six months.
ASADA told Sharks officials and players this week of the extent of their involvement in the investigation, which focuses on the time sports scientist Steve Dank spent at the club in 2011, although Dank has denied any wrongdoing.
Coach Shane Flanagan declined to comment on the situation, but denied any Sharks players were interviewed by ASADA.
The Sharks are expected to address the matter at a press conference today.
"If there is anything to talk about it is in our best interests to be upfront and honest and about it all," a Sharks official said.
The club later sought to reassure fans with a short statement on their official website.
"Sharks fans and all rugby league supporters can be assured the club has been very proactive in fully co-operating with ASADA and taking other measures that prioritise the integrity of our club and the welfare of our playing group," the statement said.
"While there are strict boundaries around what we can say while the ASADA investigation is ongoing, fans should be assured that as soon as there is an opportunity to provide further information we will do so."
As the crisis cast a pall over the NRL season start today bookmakers reacted to the speculation.
"There's a lot of rumour and innuendo, particularly about one side, the Sharks," Tattsbet's Gerrard Daffy said after his agency suspended betting on the Sharks game and a number of its futures markets at 4.30pm.
"There's rumours a lot of players are going to be stood down, and not all from the one one club."