The former Newcastle Knights star player and one-time captain, who stepped into the red and blue in the shadow of arguably the greatest NRL player of all time, Andrew Johns, was little more than a teenager when he was called up to professional football.
But his spectacular rise on the field only gave way to an equally devastating fall from grace as, behind the scenes, his life spiralled out of control. After testing positive for a steroid in 2017, Mullen was suspended for four years for doping offences and, cut off from football, he found himself ostracised and adrift. Split from his friends, from his club and from his teammates, Mullen turned to prescription and illicit drug use which ultimately ended in a near fatal overdose and criminal charges in 2018.
In an at-times brutally honest interview with veteran Newcastle Knights reporter Barry Toohey, Mullen reflects on the moment he hit rock bottom and the long road he has taken to redemption.
Now more than two years clean of substance abuse, and living and raising his family in Queensland, Mullen has hopes for a second chance and redemption as he returns to rugby league for a fresh start.
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Barry Toohey will bring a new episode to all your favourite podcasting apps every week, complementing his premium and exclusive Knights reporting and analysis in the pages of the Newcastle Herald.
Season 2, Episode 4 will publish next Thursday.