sport

Alker admits illegal drugs use

Former Salford captain and coach Malcolm Alker has revealed he took illegal drugs while he was still playing in Super League.

The revelations are made in his autobiography, "The Devil Within", which is being published next week.

Alker, who was forced to retire because of injury in 2010, admits to taking cocaine and banned growth hormones.

The former hooker, 33, played more than 350 times for Salford and ended his long association with the Reds in 2011 in controversy after being sent home from training.

"People may be thinking I've decided to bring out a book because I'm still bitter about how things worked out for me at Salford towards the end of my career. That's not true," Alker told the Manchester Evening News.

"The book is a real warts-and-all account of my life and my career. I said I wanted to go to the grave with a clear conscience and it tells of the mistakes that I've made in life.

"I once went a full season needing a shoulder reconstruction but battled on. I also underwent a course of human growth hormone.

"I became depressed but, by coming clean, I hope what I've revealed will see things improve within the game for player welfare.

"I'm also hoping that young players will take note, realise the pressures of professional rugby and the pitfalls and don't make the mistakes that I did."

Salford director of football Steve Simms said the club were unaware of any drug use by Alker during his time as a player.

"It's surprising and disappointing to hear those comments,'' Simms said.

"Players are tested regularly and at random and they get caught sooner or later. It's a thorough and rigorous process.''

A spokesman for the Rugby Football League said the allegations made by Alker have been passed on to the UK Anti-Doping agency for investigation.