The Sunshine Coast Falcons have conceded former NRL villain Jarrod Mullen is likely to raise a few eyebrows, but the club are poised to give the controversial playmaker a second chance.
Mullen was given a four-year ban by the NRL back in 2017 after testing positive for the banned steroid drostanolone by the league’s anti-doping panel.
This suspension is due to end this Sunday, January 17th. This means that the 33-year-old can return to the football field from next week and start training with the Falcons – Melbourne Storm’s feeder club – on Monday.
The former Newcastle Knights star was sentenced to 300 hours of community service in 2020 after pleading guilty to once delivering cocaine.
While Mullen has suggested that he would like to return to the NRL, the Storm have no involvement in getting players signed with the Falcons as the Sunshine Coast Club operates independently from their NRL feeder team.
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Falcons CEO Chris Flannery said he was well aware of Mullen’s story but wanted to give the former NRL star a second chance.
« When someone does a Google search for Jarrod Mullen, they come up with some pretty interesting stories, I think, » Flannery said.
« We certainly don’t sign Jarrod because his name is Jarrod Mullen. We did our due diligence on him.
« Jarrod is the first to admit that he’s made some mistakes in his past but we believe everyone should get a second chance.
« We did our due diligence and dealt with the tough talk we had with him about the drugs and the steroid ban.
« We are happy that he did everything that was needed from a community and personal perspective to get him back into the right headspace.
« We know it’ll raise a few eyebrows, but we’re happy to give it a chance. »
Mullen is trying to change his life after admitting he « hit rock bottom » in recent years.
« I want to thank my family and friends for their support over the past four years and the Hawks for giving me the opportunity to get back on the field, » said Mullen.
« I’ve learned a lot about myself in my absence and faced some difficulties, but that only increased my resilience and I will use that to advance the season ahead with the Falcons. »
The Falcons have signed controversial NRL players in the past. Former banned star Sandor Earl has teamed up with the Sunshine Coast Club for the 2018-2020 season.
Rob Moore, executive director of the Queensland Rugby League, urged Mullen to set a good example in the Intrust Super Cup.
« He obviously made some mistakes that he moved on from, and we believe he can use that knowledge to produce positive effects, especially in the area of wellbeing.
« Ultimately, however, it is up to Jarrod himself to make a strong contribution to the club, the community and the Intrust Super Cup. »
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