The NRL has slammed Dragons players caught breaking stay-at-home orders with fines totalling more than $300,000 and an eight week ban for the host Paul Vaughan.
The National Rugby League fined Dragons players more than $300,000 for their COVID-19 breach with host Paul Vaughan banned for eight weeks.
NSW Police issued 14 separate $1000 fines for breaching stay-at-home orders and the NRL has come down heavy on the Dragons players involved on Monday night.
Vaughan was suspended for eight weeks for organising and attempting to conceal the house party, where it’s claimed by Nine News that Jack de Belin hid under a bed to avoid detection.
Vaughan was also fined $50,000 fine while the other 12 Dragons players at the party received a one-week suspension and more than $300,000 in fines. Corey Norman also received a $50,000 fine.
De Belin was not initially included on the list of offending players but it was confirmed on Monday that the former NSW State of Origin lock also visited Vaughan’s Shellharbour home.
Several other senior players have also become caught up in the incident, including Josh McGuire, Jack Bird, Matt Dufty and Norman.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has criticised the players, claiming they had jeopardised the rest of the state.
And rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns was livid with the players.
Speaking on Nine News, Johns said: “You can understand people in small business who have lost everything with the lockdown, they’d be sitting back going ‘what are these peanuts doing’.”
It was de Belin’s attendance that raised the most eyebrows.
The 30-year-old is only four games back from missing two-and-a-half years of football as part of the NRL’s no-fault stand-down policy while fighting sexual assault charges.
His case was subsequently dropped after two hung juries, with de Belin able to resume his NRL career.
Questions will now be asked as to why his name had not been raised in early investigations and if there had been an attempt to cover-up his attendance.
The NRL released a statement that confirmed players had hidden from police.
“The NRL alleges that player Paul Vaughan invited players to a gathering at his home on Saturday 3 July which was attended by 12 teammates, in breach of NSW Public Health Orders and the Game’s biosecurity protocols. It’s alleged a number of players hid or fled the residence when NSW Police attended the home after complaints from neighbours,” the statement read.
The Dragons will have the numbers to field a side in their next match against Manly in Round 18, but it would be significantly weakened and will be played just two days after Tariq Sims and Ben Hunt run out in State of Origin 3.
The full list of penalties, which took into account previous disciplinary issues and wages (Vaughan received an eight week ban, all others a one week ban):
Paul Vaughan – $50,000
Corey Norman – $50,000
Jack de Belin – $42,000
Zac Lomax – $31,000
Jack Bird – $25,000
Matt Dufty – $23,000
Blake Lawry – $20,000
Josh Kerr – $18,000
Daniel Alvaro – $15,000
Josh McGuire – $12,000
Tyrell Fuimaono – $12,000
Kaide Ellis – $5,000
Gerard Beale – $2000.