Former Penrith boss Phil Gould has called for Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell to be banned for the rest of the NRL season for breaking social-distancing laws.
The Kangaroos stars have been fined $1000 each by NSW Police and an investigation is underway into a potential firearms breach after a gathering at a property in Taree over the weekend.
It has come at the worst possible time with the NRL on the verge of finalising delicate discussions with television broadcasters and governments to restart the season on May 28.
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Currently, the NRL is working with clubs to pass strict biosecurity measures to return to training on Monday, which need to be approved by governments.
Gould says the actions of Addo-Carr and Mitchell, who posted pictures of their gathering of 12 on social media, do not help the NRL’s case to restart.
“Honestly, they don’t deserve to be playing this year. Simple as that,” he told Wide World of Sports Radio on Monday night.
“I know that might seem harsh, but the message has to get through to everybody.
“What they’ve done is highly irresponsible. It’s put themselves above their teammates, their club and the game itself and that might seem like a harsh penalty but these are very, very difficult times and it was just uncalled for.
“Particularly when we’re on the eve of trying to get back and particularly that the game was trying to convince the government that we can follow strict protocols and act outside the rest of society.”
Photos posted by Addo-Carr showed the pair with 10 other men around a fire, prompting the NRL to label the pictures as disappointing and unacceptable.
He was also seen shooting a gun and riding a dirt bike without a helmet, while NRL-contracted Newcastle fringe player Tyronne Roberts-Davis is seen in one of the photos.
The NRL’s integrity unit is investigating, and it’s understood interim CEO Andrew Abdo could hand down punishments for the pair as soon as Tuesday.
Premiership hero Cooper Cronk told Fox Sports on Monday night he expects South Sydney and Melbourne to be docked competition points as part of the sanction.
“I think it’s going to be harsh, I think it’s going to be swift, and I don’t think you can do it to the individual,” Cronk said.
“I think they’re going to do maybe the points or something to take the club back a bit because one slip, one slip up that makes this game stop, it’s going to cost the game a lot of money.”
© AAP 2020