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South Sydney said today they had fined David Fa’alogo after the second-rower punched a man at a taxi rank in Florida during the NRL team’s US trip last month.
The amount of the fine was not detailed in today’s club statement although The Sunday Telegraph reported it was $10,000.
The player, who was sent home in disgrace, apologised today and said he was provoked. He will also have counselling.
“The South Sydney Football Club has disciplined second-rower David Fa’alogo for an incident which occurred in Jacksonville, Florida on Monday 21 January,” the Rabbitohs said.
“Fa’alogo was involved in a scuffle at a taxi rank after attending a team function, when he was punched by a man at the same rank.
“Fa’alogo retaliated by punching the man. Fa’alogo’s actions, despite being retaliatory, breached South Sydney’s strict code of conduct and after having gained reports of the incident, Director of Football Operations Shane Richardson ordered Fa’alogo to return back to Sydney.”
Richardson convened a meeting between himself, the player and his management on January 25, the day he returned from the US, the club said.
After interviewing club officials on January 31 upon their return to Australia, Richardson held a further meeting with Fa’alogo’s management on Friday where the club’s decision was outlined.
The club says the NRL have been informed of the process and the actions taken.
“The actions David took breached our code of conduct and even though he was retaliating to being attacked himself, we still see his actions as being unacceptable,” Richardson said.
“Our players need to realise they are targets whether they are in Sydney or on the other side of the world in the USA.
“It is not acceptable to be retaliating in this fashion and we have made that point strongly to David and his teammates.
“It doesn’t matter whether this happened in Canberra, Newcastle or Florida.”
Fa’alogo said: “Even though I was provoked in this incident, I understand my responsibilities as a player in the NRL.
“I have never had any type of incident such as this happen before and I don’t intend for anything like this to happen again.
“I accept the club’s decision and I apologise for what happened,” he added.