With only three wins between them this season, Saturday night’s clash between the Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium threatens to turn into a mockbuster.
Banned former Canterbury players Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor will appeal their indefinite NRL ban after the Bulldogs’ schoolgirl sex scandal.
Both players was deregistered by the NRL last week after they brought schoolgirls back to their hotel in Port Macquarie last month following a club school visit.
The incidents, were labelled “inexcusable” by both the NRL and the Bulldogs last week, and cost the club a $2 million sponsorship deal.
However, the pair has now taken up the option to appeal their ban, with the case to go before NRL appeals committee chief and High Court judge Ian Callinan.
No date has been set for the hearing.
The bans have the potential derail both players’ careers.
Harawira-Naera made his New Zealand debut last year and is a key member of the Bulldogs’ all-star back row at age 24.
Okunbor meanwhile has played just ten NRL games at age 23 and could be hard pressed finding a club to apply for registration in the future.
While there were no questions over the consensual nature of any acts, the NRL last week claimed the behaviour of both players constituted very serious breaches of the league’s rules.
“The behaviour of both players was inexcusable and a very serious breach of the code of conduct,” NRL boss Todd Greenberg said last week.
“The game will not tolerate such conduct and as such both players have had their registrations cancelled.”