Cronulla are set to defy ASADA orders and refuse to stand players down from Sunday's season-opener against Gold Coast at Sharks Stadium.
It's understood coach Shane Flanagan intends to field his strongest line-up despite calls from the anti-doping authority for up to a dozen players to accept six-month bans for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The players are adamant they did not knowingly used banned substances and are unwilling to confess to a crime they believe was not committed.
It's unclear whether the Sharks' hierarchy is backing the stance Flanagan and his players are taking but the coach is refusing to yield.
The NRL has adopted a wait-and-see attitude but declared Sunday's game will definitely go ahead.
"The general feeling is the team will go into the game as selected," a Sharks insider told Sportal.
"At this stage there is no indication anyone will stand down or be stood down.
"That could change in the next 48 hours but Flano's focus is now on the game."
The Sharks presented a united front on Thursday as they attempted to put the drugs drama aside to focus on football.
With a big media contingent outside their home ground, the players gathered for a midday gym session before a legal team drove into the ground.
It's understood John Morris, Paul Gallen and at least one other player met with the legal representatives before joining team-mates for a video session.
The team then headed onto Sharks Stadium for ball work, with Gallen a notable absentee.
Supporters driving past the ground shouted out support for the beleaguered club, many angered at what they see as a vendetta against the Shire outfit.
Cronulla officials are expecting a big show of support from fans at Sunday's game, while the majority of sports betting agencies have re-opened betting.
Chairman Damian Irvine returns from the US on Friday night and is expected to confirm the Sharks' next move.