Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera have had their registrations cancelled by the NRL following an alleged teen sex scandal in February.
The pair are alleged to have taken two high school students back to their hotel room for consensual sex after visiting a school in Port Macquarie during a pre-season team trip on February 29.
It is noted that the players are not the subject of a criminal investigation as the girls were not under the age of consent, which is 16-years-old in NSW.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
However, the NRL confirmed in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that their show-cause process found the behaviour of each player constituted “very serious breaches of the league’s Code of Conduct.”
“The behaviour of both players was inexcusable and a very serious breach of the code of conduct,’” NRL Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg said
“The game will not tolerate such conduct and as such both players have had their registrations cancelled.
“This decision should send a very clear message to all players of our stance on such behaviour.”
The NRL said both them and the Bulldogs have assisted the families involved throughout the process and will continue to do so.
“Both players have been contacted and welfare services made available to them,” the NRL said.
The Bulldogs also confirmed the news in their own statement.
“The conduct of the two players, on the eve of our final trial match, demonstrated an unacceptable lack of respect for their teammates, their coach and club officials, our hosts in Port Macquarie and fans of the game everywhere,” the club said.
“An important part of the role of being a professional rugby league player is to promote the game and act as an ambassador for your club and the code. There can be no tolerance for any abuse of the privileged status the game affords its leading players.”
The Bulldogs said protecting the welfare of the young women involved has remained a priority since the beginning.
“They have, unfortunately, been the victims of some distasteful social media attacks which are not called for and need to stop.
“We have been in regular contact with them, their families and their school and we will continue to offer ongoing support moving forward.”
The club also said that both Jayden and Corey have been subject to intense scrutiny and have paid a heavy price for their behaviour.
“They too are entitled to welfare support to help them through this period and assist them into the next stage of their careers.
“Our Club will liaise with their respective agents, the NRL and the Rugby League Players Association to ensure they receive the support and guidance they need.”
“We know and accept that there will be conflicting views about the penalties handed out to these two players,” the Bulldogs said.
“Our united view as a Club is that a firm line must be drawn in the sand to uphold the standards and values that define our club.
“We want to assure our members, partners and supporters that we have outstanding people at the Bulldogs who are working harder than ever to make sure anyone associated with our club understands that we have a culture that we all live by and that this type of behaviour will simply not be tolerated.”