Aussie NRL State Of Origin: Would You Like Caffeine With That?, by Greg Tingle - 7th July 2010

The NRL State Of Origin is about to have its "decider" (final match for this year), but questions are being raised about who is drinking too much coffee and popping caffeine pills? In any event, it doesn't seem to be helping the NSW Blues... Media Man and Gambling911 probe and go in search on caffeine and too much coffee in the NRL fraternity...

Caffeine pills and drinking lots of coffee before performances. Some poker players do it, so do pro wrestlers, as do some of Australia's NRL and AFL footy players. Us hard working journos, PR's and internet entrepreneurs are also known to drink too much coffee, hoping to boost performance, and sometimes falling into a trap of addiction (diagnosed or not) in the process.

We've learned that NSW State of Origin players were "actively discouraged" from taking caffeine supplements before interstate games, the head man of the Blues' medical staff told media yesterday.

NRL (and AFL) remains in the spotlight for many reasons... the aftermath of the salary cap and betting scandals, then AFL star Ben Cousins admittance and subsequent release from hospital, related to taking a pill, and of course the NRL State Of Origin final upon us.

Following Cousins's release from hospital down south Melbourne, David Givney, the Blues doc and Cronulla Sharks medico, told the Fairfax Media that NSW Origin players were warned of the negative side-effects caffeine products in tablet or energy-drink form could have on their on field performance.

"I'd be very surprised if they're being used by many (NRL) players," Givney said. "They're actively discouraged in the NSW team and Cronulla. We have got players that like a coffee but they won't have anything before games."

Givney's comments follow repeated claims yesterday, coinciding with Richmond midfielder's - Cousins release from hospital, that the use of caffeine tablets as a pre-game stimulant was widespread in the AFL.

Givney had a bit to say on the matter "There is nothing to stop a player having a 'V' drink, or something, themselves before a game but we don't encourage it. You lose any advantage you might get in the considerable amount of dehydration from the caffeine."

Players are given a variety of iron and vitamin supplements before matches.

Legal Or Ethical?...

"It's a detectable substance. It might not necessarily be on the banned substances list but in high levels it can be picked up on a drug test and players don't want that."

Roy Saunders for the Maroons (QLD) said "It's not illegal but it's not something that we do in this side The group of players we have don't use caffeine - it's just not something we do."

The subject of caffeine tablets and energy drinks in sport was probed by the Aussie media back some 5 years ago. Wallabies captain George Gregan pointing to AIS research said the tablets improved his performance by up to 7%.

Re AFL stories circulate that some players mixed the caffeine drink Red Bull with the insomnia drug Stilnox for recreational use.

Not to be outdone, allegations of a "prescription drug culture" at the Sydney Roosters coming from the charging of Roosters hooker friendly Jake "The Mate" Friend last month for having tablets in his possession without a prescription.

Mr Friend and teammate Todd Carney, who was with him in beachside suburb Coogee when he was arrested, have been totally cleared of any wrongdoing by the Roosters. Friend's matter has been adjourned for mention to 21st July at Waverley Local Court.

Punters and insiders. Should NRL, AFL and poker pros take caffeine pills (or other legal performance enhancing drugs)? Tell us in the forum.

State Of Origin Tonight On Network Nine Australia In 3D!

Sports Betting On NRL - Betfair VS Centrebet

Centrebet VS Betfair - both favorites with Aussie's looking to bet on the Blue's VS Maroones.

Centrebet Odds

NSW $2.85 for the win
QLD $1.44 for the win

Betfair Odds

NSW $3.15
QLD $1.45

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*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

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