Cronulla's leading league stars seem set to reject the offer of a six-month ban for coming clean over doping allegations, with their National Rugby League season to open on Sunday under the shroud of controversy against Gold Coast.
While the Sharks went to ground Thursday as speculation over the future of as many as 14 players reached fever pitch, the NRL confirmed the opening-round contest against the Titans would go ahead.
It's understood the players were told on Tuesday they had 48 hours to accept 6-month bans if they'd used a prohibited drug - knowingly or otherwise.
They were warned they faced the maximum two-year suspension if they were later found guilty by an Australian AntiDoping Agency investigation.
Meanwhile, the NRL has reassured fans that Cronulla will play their opening-round match against Gold Coast on Sunday, despite the threat of drug bans hanging over the heads of as many as 14 players.
But while the NRL confirmed the match would go ahead, there was no indication as to whether the team named on Tuesday would take the field.
Sharks officials have so far been adamant there will be no changes to the line-up.