Today marks seven days since Paul Vaughan made the regretful decision to host an illegal 12-man BBQ gathering, disregarding strict NSW government COVID and NRL bubble regulations.
As a result, all players who attended the party were slapped with hefty fines and suspensions.
These fines were based on the players’ varying salaries.
The suspensions handed out saw all players given a one-week suspension with the exception of Paul Vaughan.
Vaughan was originally given eight weeks however instead he saw his contact torn up in a cut-throat decision by the Dragons’ board.
A question floating around the media outlets is can the Dragons still make the eight?
They currently sit seventh with 16 points with the Sharks, Knights and Cowboys on their tail with 14.
One huge benefit given to the Dragons from the NRL’s punishment is they were granted permission to choose the weeks in which their players use their one-week suspensions.
For example, the Dragons can rest three players this round, three the next and so on.
Tonight the Dragons are due to face Manly at Cbus Super Stadium on the sunny Gold Coast.
The heavy favourites are Manly, sitting at around $1.30 and the Red V are at $4.
In saying that, the sheer impact of Tom Trbojevic could prove a deciding factor.
He will be rested for tonight’s game, which many fans and pundit see as the Dragons’ main thread to get ahead in this match.
Key players such as Matt Dufty and Zac Lomax attended the gathering and received hefty fines, however other pivotal players like Ben Hunt and Tariq Sims did not.
I don’t believe anyone questions the talent of the Dragons’ squad and their inability to crack the top eight, but rather the magnitude of the situation, the scrutinising media, the guilt and the morale of the club as a whole and if these will affect the team and its staff to fall out of the top eight.