Melbourne Storm boss savaged over white powder video scandal

·4-min read
This image shows the white powder video that landed three Melbourne Storm players in hot water.
Three Melbourne Storm players were sanctioned after a video surfaced of them partying with a white powder visible on a table. Pic: Channel Nine

Melbourne Storm CEO Justin Rodski has fired up in response to a series of tough questions about a white powder video scandal involving several of the club's players.

The Storm on Tuesday dished out their punishments for Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis, before Munster revealed he was entering a rehab facility to deal with his "battle" against alcohol abuse.

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The Storm warned that the star playmaker was on his last chance after post-season video emerged of him partying with a white powder.

Munster, Smith and Lewis were sanctioned by the NRL for their antics following their finals exit.

Issued with NRL breach notices on Tuesday alleging they brought the game into disrepute, the trio will miss the 2022 season opener and face various fines, with Munster hardest hit with a $30,000 penalty.

The Storm also slapped Munster with a $100,000 suspended fine.

Melbourne's CEO was quizzed by News Corp reporter Peter Badel on the severity of the penalties and why the players were not drug tested in the aftermath of the scandalous video.

Speaking via a video link, Rodski said his players hadn't admitted taking any drugs and the NRL was unable to test them for illicit substances in the off-season.

"The findings from the NRL integrity unit haven't produced any evidence to suggest what was in the video," Rodski said.

"Through excessive consumption of alcohol and intoxication the players have limited memory of what did or didn't take place in that hotel room.

He defended the lightweight one-game bans and said the "totality of sanctions and penalties handed down across the NRL and the club were significant and serious".

However, Badel labelled the whole fiasco a "farce" and said the Storm should be "embarrassed" about their response to the drama.

Pictured here, Cameron Munster (left) and Brandon Smith during NRL matches for the Storm.
Cameron Munster (pictured left) and Brandon Smith (pictured right) have copped suspensions and fines from the NRL over their post-season antics. (Getty Images)

“I’ve been listening to this. You should be embarrassed as a club. You go on about doing a robust investigation. You haven’t drug tested the players. They claimed they can’t remember what they take or didn’t take despite the fact there’s video evidence," Badel said.

“This is a farce. You’re playing us all for fools Justin, and what are you going to do about it? There’s clear vision that they have taken something. Have you asked the players that? Are they going to admit to anything?”

Storm CEO taken to task over video

After admitting he didn't know what the white powder was in the video, the Storm CEO came under fire again over the club's investigation into the saga.

“How can you not know if you’re doing a robust investigation? As the CEO how can you not know?”

Rodksi shot back: “Because I wasn’t in the room. Just so you know, the club is not permitted to drug test the players. Drug testing is done by the NRL, that is part of the players’ CBA in association with the RLPA.

“So to say the club’s response to this is an embarrassment is a really poor reflection on you and that you haven’t been listening to what we’ve been talking about today.”

Melbourne have put Munster on a 12-month booze ban and axed him from the Storm leadership group, as well as the $100,000 suspended fine.

Rodski said if the representative five-eighth breached the alcohol ban he would cop the hefty fine and face the Storm's board which would decide his fate.

Asked if the 27-year-old was on his last chance after previous disciplinary issues Rodski replied: "I think you could take from this that he is, yes."

with AAP

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