Playmaker Jarrod Mullen in action for the Newcastle Knights at training at Newcastle University. Picture: Peter Lorimer
Playmaker Jarrod Mullen in action for the Newcastle Knights at training at Newcastle University. Picture: Peter Lorimer

Ex-Origin star almost dies from drug overdose

He was once a $1 million-a-year State of Origin star and a household name in rugby league.

Now the life of former Newcastle Knights half Jarrod Mullen has spiralled spectacularly out of control following a drug overdose and suspicions he could be linked to a drug supply ring.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the 31-year-old, who is serving a four-year doping ban, almost died from a drug overdose last December and is now under investigation in his hometown of Newcastle in relation to the alleged drug supply ring.

To date, he has not been charged with any offence.

Detectives from strike force Castlestead have been working on his case for several months.

Ironically the former Blues Origin star almost lost his life from a drug overdose at a 40th birthday party in early December.

The host of the party, Willie Mason's brother Les, has since been charged by police with drug supply offences, unrelated to the overdose.

Mullen was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. He survived after spending two days in intensive care.

Mullen playing for NSW in the State of Origin in 2007.
Mullen playing for NSW in the State of Origin in 2007.

After being discharged, the former Newcastle Knights halfback entered a rehab centre for six weeks and has since left Newcastle to live in Wollongong.

Mullen’s fall from grace has been huge considering he was once paid $1 million a year. Picture: Getty
Mullen’s fall from grace has been huge considering he was once paid $1 million a year. Picture: Getty

 

Police set-up a strike force in September to target drug supply in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas.

In December five men were arrested including the alleged principal of the syndicate, Matthew Pearce, 35, and Mason, 40, a former heavyweight boxer.

Mason was charged with large commercial drug supply. He scored three wins from four bouts, winning two by knockout, in his heavyweight boxing career.

Pearce, a high-profile personal trainer, also has links to the Knights.

 

Les Masdon being arrested. Picture: NSW Police
Les Masdon being arrested. Picture: NSW Police

 

Evidence seized by police in December. Picture: NSW Police
Evidence seized by police in December. Picture: NSW Police

Authorities allegedly uncovered large amounts of cocaine, GHB and cash in a number of houses across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie in the raids just before Christmas.

They also allegedly found a "filthy" clandestine drug laboratory in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Wangi Wangi.

The strike force has arrested 10 people in total, including Pearce's younger brother Brett Pearce, 33, and Jay Ramsden, 28, who both live in the Newcastle area, along with Rose Bay man Aaron Macey, 29.

Matthew Pearce was charged with 10 offences including commercial drug importation and manufacturing drugs.

Les Mason.
Les Mason.

 

It has been reported Pearce allegedly ordered drugs online from his home, using up to 10 post boxes to receive the goods in the mail.

Police said further arrests by the strike force were expected.

After being made aware of Mullen's overdose in early December, the NRL helped to arrange Mullen's treatment in a Sydney rehab centre.

In 2017 Mullen, then Newcastle's highest-paid player, was banned for four years after testing positive to a prohibited substance.

Mullen playing for the Newcastle Knights in August 2016. Picture: Getty
Mullen playing for the Newcastle Knights in August 2016. Picture: Getty

He was found to have used the anabolic steroid Drostanolone to speed up his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered in 2016.

He said he had sought assistance from a physiotherapist outside of the Knights and was given what he thought was an amino acid, but was actually Drostanolone.

It was detected in a routine drug test administered by the Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority seven weeks later.

Mullen played State of Origin for the NSW Blues and 211 games for the Newcastle Knights.

Mullen declined to return text message or phone calls.

Mullen was banned in 2017 after testing positive to steroids. Picture: Kym Smith
Mullen was banned in 2017 after testing positive to steroids. Picture: Kym Smith