NRL Premiership hopes for the St George Illawarra Dragons have been dashed overnight, after more than a dozen players facing bans for an illegal house party.
13 players were found at a house party hosted by Paul Vaughn on Saturday night, in the midst of Sydney’s strict lockdown.
They were all immediately fined $1,000 by NSW police before the NRL then commenced its own investigation.
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Overnight, they’ve fined all 13 players between $2,000 and $42,000 each, while all will also be slapped with one-match bans (list below).
Paul Vaughn will be sidelined for eight weeks due to a prior breach of Covid rules.
The suspensions can luckily be staggered across a maximum of four rounds so the club can still field a team.
“The 13 players’ arrogance and ignorance to both the NRL biosecurity protocols and the state government’s public health order is upsetting and infuriating,” Dragons chief executive Ryan Webb said.
“The Dragons hold no reservations over the punishments handed down by the NRL Integrity Unit or NSW Police given the players’ complete disregard for both the game and community’s expectations.”
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the players “deliberately chose to ignore” the Covid rules, which they were well aware of.
“There are many people working incredibly hard to keep the competition going — it’s a privilege to play football, not a right.
“I want to stress that there are almost 900 players and officials following strict biosecurity measures and the overwhelming number are doing the right thing, as they did last year.”
- Paul Vaughan and Corey Norman: $50,000 each
- Jack de Belin: $42,000
- Zac Lomax: $31,000
- Jack Bird: $25,000
- Matt Dufty: $23,000
- Blake Lawrie: $20,000
- Josh Kerr: $18,000
- Daniel Alvaro: $15,000
- Josh McGuire and Tyrell Fuimaono: $12,000 each
- Kaide Ellis: $5,000
- Gerard Beale: $2,000