Fresh from being stood down for breaching the NRL's strict biosecurity protocols, master coach Wayne Bennett and Dragons forward Paul Vaughan have come under fire from the rugby league fraternity.
Vaughan admits it was selfish and reckless to break the NRL's bubble and dine out, placing him in two weeks' quarantine.
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Bennett has been left remorseful, insisting he did not know he was in breach of regulations when he went to a Sydney restaurant for a meal with his partner.
“I don’t know. If it was a breach I wouldn’t have done it. I went with my partner who I live with,” he said.
“I go shopping, I go out to get meals. There wasn’t many there at all. I was isolated, away from everybody, just had lunch.”
The actions of Bennett and Vaughan have placed the spotlight firmly on the NRL, with many left outraged by their reckless conduct.
Fox Sports' NRL 360 host Ben Ikin - who is Bennett's son-in-law - branded the master coach "arrogant" and said he should have known better.
“I think it was so irresponsible, if anyone you think was going to set the right example for an entire code it would be the game’s most experienced coach,” Ikin said.
“Instead he turned up at a press conference today having been caught out … at one point he was confused, he was uncertain about the rules.
“I think he ended the press conference calling a journalist small minded.
“It felt a bit arrogant to me, he made the mistake and should have just fessed up and you know admitted almost to struggling living in the bubble and he broke out of it.
“Because there’s no way known based on the phone calls I’ve made today that there is not a single NRL employee, player, coach whoever that is inside the bubble at the moment who does not know those rules.”
Vaughan also copped a lashing from his Dragons coach, in the aftermath of their 24-16 loss to the Roosters on Thursday night.
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Paul McGregor said he was disappointed in Vaughan's decision to break the NRL bubble to get breakfast earlier in the day - a move that has resulted in the prop being quarantined for two weeks.
"That's very disappointing," McGregor said.
"We're well aware of what our responsibilities are.
"We talk about it consistently so there's no reason for it except it's selfish behaviour."
Earlier on Thursday, Vaughan conceded there was no excuse for his actions and apologised to McGregor and teammates in a WhatsApp message hours before they took the field.
The State of Origin forward was caught having breakfast at a Wollongong cafe on Thursday morning, in a direct breach of the NRL's biosecurity protocols.
The news was a massive blow for the Dragons, who are facing must-win games without their best front-rower.
"I am very remorseful for the reckless and selfish decision I have made," Vaughan said.
"Everyone within the Dragons' bubble, including myself, are well aware of the protocols in place.
"I'm sorry for the harm my actions have caused to the club and my teammates."
Vaughan has been tested for COVID-19 and will require to pass another test before rejoining his teammates after his isolation period.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has told AAP the pair's actions must be a wake-up call, given the incidents place the whole game at risk.
Dragons chief executive Ryan Webb also didn't miss, claiming Vaughan had let the club down.
"Paul is one of our most experienced players and we are upset with his judgement in breaking the NRL's COVID-19 biosecurity protocols," Webb said.
"Not only has he let the playing group and the entirety of our hard-working staff down but also our Red V members, partners and fans."