Rugby league greats Paul Gallen and Mark Carroll lock horns in heated war of words

Former Cronulla Sharks star Paul Gallen has labelled rugby league great Mark Carroll a “two-faced coward” as the pair took part in a vicious war of words on Tuesday.

On Monday, Gallen leapt to the defence of Sharks centre Bronson Xerri, who was provisionally suspended from the NRL last week after failing a drug test.

In his A-sample, Xerri tested positive for a cocktail of five banned substances, including exogenous Testosterone, Androsterone, Etiocholanolone and 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol, which are all prohibited under the WADA code.

“I have no doubt that he can come out of this. I wouldn’t for a second leave him behind or forget about him. I don’t think Cronulla should either,” Gallen wrote onWide World of Sports.

“It may be proven that he has done the wrong thing and in that case, he’ll pay the price. But there should be measures in place to support his wellbeing and give him a chance to come back to the game.”

Should his B-sample also be positive, Xerri faces a maximum four-year ban — leaving the 21-year-old locked out of the competition until he is 25.

Mark “Spud” Carroll at his gym, in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.Source:News Corp Australia

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Speaking on 2GB Drive, Carroll argued Xerri should be banned for life if proven guilty of taking performance-enhancing substances. The former Australian representative also called out Gallen for his involvement in the 2011 Cronulla Sharks supplements saga.

“I can’t believe this kid did this and now Gallen wants to back him and say it was OK.” Carroll said on Tuesday.

“Are you cracking jokes? Mate you don’t take drugs. If you take drugs, you don’t play our game.

“Simple as that. Gal got slapped on the wrist for what he did, he got away with it.

“This kid he’s going to have to pay the penalty.”

However, Gallen returned serve soon after and labelled Carroll a “big, tough guy with a big mouth”.

“We all know it was a club-run program where players were duped and doped,” Gallen said on 2GB.

“I was one of 16 players to have pleaded guilty and I bet you that goose couldn’t name another two or three players.

“I was with Mark Carroll probably three or four months ago, not even, doing a luncheon with him and he’s shaking my hand and best mates to my face … Nice as pie. Now he wants to get on radio and say things like that.

Paul Gallen retired from professional rugby league in 2019.Source:AAP

“If you don’t like someone and you think someone’s done the wrong, don’t shake their hand and be nice to them.

“Be a man and say you’ve done the wrong thing I don’t like you.

“I just think he’s a two-faced coward.

“I have that many blokes who talk behind my back about what happened at Cronulla and have no idea about what actually happened, yet when I see them, they’re nice to me.

“Then they want to get on radio and spruik themselves, all he’s trying to do is create a headline and probably get a job because he’s a dumb s***.”

Carroll played seven State of Origin matches for the New South Wales Blues and 12 Tests for Australia. The 53-year-old currently owns a gym in Sydney.

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