St George Illawarra Dragons chief executive Ryan Webb says a board meeting at the NRL club on Tuesday will discuss the playing futures of 13 team members who breached Covid-19 public health orders by attending a house party at the weekend.
The NRL alleges star forward Paul Vaughan invited 12 players to a gathering at his Shellharbour home on Saturday, which was in breach of NSW Public Health Orders and rugby league biosecurity protocols.
It is alleged a number of players hid or fled the residence when NSW Police attended the home after complaints from neighbours.
The NRL issued breach notices to 13 St George Illawarra Dragons players, alleging they failed to comply with the game’s biosecurity protocols and withheld key information from the NRL Integrity Unit.
Officers from Lake Illawarra Police District also issued the total 14 people involved – one woman and 13 men – with a $1000 fine for breaching stay at home directions.
The players who allegedly attended Vaughan’s house were Blake Lawrie, Corey Norman, Daniel Alvaro, Jack Bird, Josh Kerr, Josh McGuire, Kaide Ellis, Matthey Dufty, Tyrell Fuimaono, Zac Lomax, Jack de Belin and Gerard Beale.
Vaughan allegedly hosted a gathering at his home. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The total of fines for players involved is $305,000 while playing suspensions will be staggered to ensure the Dragons can field a team each round.
Vaughan and Norman copped the biggest fines at $50,000 each.
As public backlash mounts, chief executive Webb said he could not speculate on whether Vaughan or other team members would be sacked but he did concede their playing futures would be discussed.
Last year, Vaughan was stood down for two weeks after visiting a cafe while biosecurity bubble regulations were being enforced.
“We need to have some pretty strong discussions about it today” Webb told 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Tuesday.
“This is a big hit for the club; there’s a bit of shock and disappointment (at the breaches) and you feel quite gutted because (we) feel (we’re) building something here at the club and then this is the opposite of that.
“We haven't made any decisions or spoken about (Vaughan getting sacked).
“The board meeting we’ve got today is really to talk about everything; we weren’t sure if we were going to have enough players to fill the team … but I think everything needs to be discussed today.”
de Belin was fined $42,000 by the NRL. Picture: Jonathan NgSource:News Corp Australia
Adding embarrassment to the situation are unconfirmed reports Dragons star de Belin allegedly hid under a bed when police arrived at the house.
Webb also delivered an apology to Dragons fans.
“I guess I have to apologise on behalf of the club; people, people should be able to be proud of their football club and I can't see how anyone right now would be able to go out in front of their friends, family, workmates and so they’re proud to be Dragons supporter.
“There’s a lot of trust that has to be built back.”
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