'What a joke': NRL savaged for 'pathetic' virus bans

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter
Josh Addo-Carr (pictured left) with a firearm and also pictured right with Latrell Mitchell at a campfire. (Instagram)

The four NRL players caught breaching social distancing guidelines will avoid immediate bans with South Sydney's Latrell Mitchell and Melbourne's Josh Addo-Carr copping a $50,000 fine each.

The NRL confirmed on Tuesday that Mitchell, Addo-Carr, Nathan Cleary and Tyronne Roberts-Davis would only have a one-game suspended ban for weekend incidents.

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Mitchell and Addo-Carr have been handed a $50,000 fine each, on top of the NSW police fine.

However, 60 per cent of this will be suspended, bringing the total down to $20,000.

Mitchell and Addo-Carr have also both been charged with firearms offences, following the incident.

NSW Police confirmed on Tuesday that both men had been charged and are set to face court in August.

Mitchell’s firearms licence has been suspended and police say they have seized a number of weapons from the player after photos emerged on social media of the NRL stars with the weapons on the camping trip.

Penrith superstar Cleary and Newcastle fringe player Roberts-Davis were fined $10,000, but again 60 per cent of this is suspended, bring the fine down to $4000.

The NRL released a statement condemning the actions of the players caught up in the seperate scandals.

“The sanctions proposed today are stronger than fines which can be imposed by authorities because we hold our players to a higher standard and they must set a higher standard for the community,’’ Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“We are focussed on resuming the competition on May 28, something our fans and stakeholders are excited about. Players who do not comply with community and NRL protocols will face sanction.”

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys said the heavy fines should be a warning to other players ahead of the planned NRL restart on 28 May.

“It is important that, in these challenging times, we all have to work together to combat COVID-19 and compliance with public health orders is a critical requirement,” he said.

“The players have to understand that they are putting the game and the community at risk by their actions. It’s certainly hard to accept such behaviour when the game is doing everything it can to persuade the community that its players are responsible and behave appropriately.”

Fans stunned with no immediate bans

Veteran NRL broadcaster Gus Gould and other greats called for lengthy bans for the rule breakers to set a strong precedent.

But the NRL community was stunned to see the code slap the players on the wrist when it came to their suspended one-week bans.

Gus Gould called for hefty bans

Gould savaged Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr after the NSW police fined the pair after for breaching distancing laws at a camping trip.

The former Penrith General Manager even called for the pair to be banned for the rest of the year.

But in the latest development on Tuesday in the ongoing NRL saga, the Nine Network broadcast photos of Cleary with a group of at least five girls, that were reportedly taken on Anzac Day.

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Nine reported the NSW halfback has apologised to his Penrith teammates and claimed the girls were a group of friends who had arrived at his house.

But Gould has doubled down to ban all players seen to be breaking the rules and labelled Cleary’s actions as “irresponsible”, despite acknowledging the incident was reportedly unplanned.

with AAP