Melbourne stars Cameron Munster and Brandon Smith will miss the 2022 season opener and face fines of up to $30,000 in penalties imposed by the NRL for their post-season antics.
The Storm duo, as well as teammate Chris Lewis, were issued with breach notices by the NRL on Tuesday morning alleging they brought the game into disrepute.
Warriors youngster Reece Walsh was also issued a breach notice for failing to comply with the game’s code of conduct, and faces a two-game ban and a $5,000 fine.
With the NRL taking into account the player salaries, Munster was hardest hit, facing a $30,000 fine as well as his one-match suspension while Smith was fined $15,000 and Lewis $4,000.
The Storm trio, as well as Walsh, are also required to complete education and training as directed by the NRL.
The players each have five business days to respond to their breach notice.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo said the players had let the rugby league community down.
“I understand that players have endured a long season under strict protocols,” he said in a statement.
“However, there is no excuse for the behaviour we have seen over the past week. The players have let themselves, their clubs and the rugby league community down.
“These sanctions are designed to include an element of rehabilitation and development as well as having consequences for the individual and team.”
Two undated videos surfaced online after the Storm’s NRL finals exit.
The initial vision appeared to show Munster, Smith and several other people in a room with a white substance on a table while a second video showed Munster dancing on the same table.
Celebrating the end of his debut NRL season, Walsh was arrested on the Gold Coast and is under investigation for drug offences.
The 19-year-old was asked by police to move on from the nightclub strip but he returned and was arrested.
The Warriors had already announced he would undergo club-instigated drug and alcohol counselling.
The Storm players will front the media and club sponsors later on Tuesday with the club yet to hand down its own sanctions.
FULL NRL STATEMENT
REECE WALSH (NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS)
The National Rugby League has issued New Zealand Warriors Player Reece Walsh with a Breach Notice for failing to comply with the game’s Code of Conduct and bringing the game into disrepute.
The Notice proposes Walsh is fined $5000, suspended for 2 matches and must complete education and training as directed by the NRL.
The particulars of the Breach Notice are that Walsh was charged with contravening a police direction and possessing a dangerous drug on the Gold Coast on 25 September 2021.
Walsh has five business days to respond to the Breach Notice.
CAMERON MUNSTER, BRANDON SMITH & CHRIS LEWIS (MELBOURNE STORM)
The NRL has issued Melbourne Storm Players Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis with Breach Notices alleging they brought the game into disrepute.
The Breach Notices propose Munster is fined $30,000 and suspended for 1 match, Smith is fined $15,000 and suspended for 1 match, Lewis is fined $4000 and suspended for 1 match and all three are required to complete education and training as directed by the NRL.
The fines proposed take into account the varying salaries of each individual.
The particulars of the Breach Notices are that the players featured in videos, which emerged publicly on 27 and 28 September 2021, which depicted the players acting in a manner which brought the game into disrepute.
The players each have five business days to respond to their Breach Notice.