Governing bodies Down Under are working to stamp out the practice of players mixing sleeping pills and energy drinks following the recent World Cup.
New Zealand management warned several players during the tournament over the misuse of prescription medication as a recovery practice, in a manner that had left some unable to function 100% afterwards.
Chief Phil Holden said: “We’re very concerned at the health risks involved in this practice and the players involved probably aren’t even aware of the risk they are putting themselves at.
“Their behaviour certainly divided the group and, in some cases, probably affected how individual players recovered from games, so it was definitely a factor.
“But we can’t in, all honesty, say it cost us the World Cup title – that would be disrespectful to an Australian side that deserve to rank among the all-time greats.”
While the medication/energy drink combination is neither illegal nor banned by Wada, the incident has led to the NRL setting up a taskforce on the issue, with NZRL represented by high performance manager Tony Iro.
Clubs are now considering greater controls over the issue of sleeping pills to players.
Holden added: “We’ve been heartened by the NRL’s response to this, since our players operate in that environment for most of the year and any change can only be achieved through co-operation with their clubs.”