NRL legend Paul Gallen has fired shots at the Australian anti-doping authority (ASADA) over the timing of Bronson Xerri's drugs penalty.
Xerri, a highly-rated teenage centre with the Cronulla Sharks, has been suspended just two days before the start of the revamped NRL season, after a test conducted in November.
Long-time Sharks skipper Gallen has accused ASADA of chasing headlines, questioning why the result wasn't released earlier.
"Are they really there for the good of the game?" Gallen told 2GB on Tuesday.
"Are they really trying to catch people doing the wrong thing or are they just there to create headlines?"
Gallen and ASADA already have history, after he was embroiled in the club's 2011 supplements scandal that led to the resignation and suspension of coach Shane Flanagan.
"I think it's pretty clear that I'm not a fan of ASADA, due to what we went through all those years ago.
"That's all been dealt with now, but certain things I saw from ASADA back then... after seeing this as well, you have to think whether ASADA are trying to create headlines.
"There's a number of questions that need to be asked of ASADA and hopefully we can find some of those answers in the coming days.
"At no point here am I trying to justify what's happened. If Bronson has tested positive, then he'll cop whatever punishment that is coming his way, but surely there's got to be some questions asked of the timing of this."
Veteran St George Dragon prop James Graham has backed Gallen's stance and raised his own concerns over the timing of the positive test.
"Personally, I've probably got more questions for ASADA than I do Bronson Xerri at the moment," Graham said on NRL 360.
"I'm struggling to get my head around how they let a player, who has provided a positive test, potentially play for six months.
"I'm dumbfounded by that. I'd have plenty of questions for ASADA."
Xerri faces a potential four-year suspension from the sport for using a range of steroids, including testosterone and androsterone.