ALEX Godfrey was today coming to terms with life outside rugby league after his appeal against a ban for failing a drugs test was dismissed.

The York City Knights star attended a personal appeal hearing at Rugby Football League headquarters in Leeds last night, when the independent three-man adjudication panel, chaired by a judge, upheld the original two-year suspension.

As revealed by the Evening Press last month, Godfrey was hit with the ban by the RFL's Advisory Panel for a breach of its doping control regulations. The 25-year-old, who is from York, had tested positive for an element of a banned substance, having provided a sample containing benzoylecgonine, which, according to a website run by Government agency UK Sport, is a diagnostic metabolite of cocaine.

Godfrey has continued to protest his innocence, although no details surrounding the nature of his defence have been released. He was unavailable for comment today.

Godfrey, who has not played since May 23, remains the club's leading try-scorer this season, having notched 14 touchdowns in 14 games before being hit by illness and then the ban. His last game was against Gateshead on May 23.

York-born Godfrey started his career with York Wasps, starring in the 1998 side who were runners-up in the old Second Division, before enjoying spells with Dewsbury Rams and Hull KR.

He returned to Huntington Stadium with the Knights at the start of last season, scoring the new club's first try, against Hull KR.

Updated: 10:34 Friday, July 16, 2004