Second Nathan Cleary lie exposed in NRL virus scandal

Nathan Cleary's punishment was increased after a second lie about his virus breach was exposed. Pic: Getty/TikTok

Penrith star Nathan Cleary was "lucky" not to have been punished more severely for his virus breach, according to Fox Sports reporter James Hooper.

A remorseful Cleary has described his actions as "irresponsible, selfish and pretty stupid" and vowed to grow from his brush with the law.

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The Penrith star, as well as teammate Tyrone May, on Tuesday accepted their two-game NRL ban for social distancing breaches.

Cleary was also slapped with a hefty $30,000 fine for being "untruthful" in dealings with the league's integrity unit.

It related to an incident captured on social media that saw Cleary surrounded by his sister and a group of friends inside their family home, in what was a clear breach of social distancing rules.

The two-week saga began with photographs emerging of Cleary with friends at his house during the coronavirus lockdown.

He initially explained that the group of friends were over for a short time, before video emerged the next day of him dancing with the same group of friends, whom Cleary originally claimed came over unexpectedly and for only a brief period of time.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports that story was also a lie and that Cleary left his house in a car to go and pick up the girls, before brining them back to his place.

It explains why Cleary was hit with a much more substantial sanction on Tuesday, compared with his original punishment.

Fox Sports' rugby league expert Hooper said Cleary had told a “blatant porky” and suggested the Panthers halfback got off lightly.

“Nathan’s probably lucky he only got two games and a $30,000 fine now that the full story has come to light,” Hooper told Fox League Live.

Cleary was initially cleared by police over the Anzac Day incident that saw five women receive $1000 police fines for flouting government protocols.

He was originally hit with a $10,000 fine, 60 per cent suspended, as well as a suspended one-match ban after initial investigations.

The revelations that Cleary left his home, however, have prompted NSW to look into the matter again.

"There will be some further inquiries made into that over the coming days and if it's appropriate to take action against that person, that will occur," deputy police commissioner Gary Worboys said.

"It'll be a local Police Area Command investigation.

"They handled it previously and we'll look forward to the outcome of that in the coming days."

Cleary was full of remorse when discussing the saga on Tuesday, vowing to learn from his mistakes as he set about putting the incident behind him.

"I'm obviously embarrassed with myself and I'm not happy with what I've done," Cleary told the club's website on Tuesday.

Nathan Cleary (right) in action for the Panthers in March. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

"I just to want to apologise for my actions. My actions were irresponsible, selfish and pretty stupid, to be honest.

"I brought a lot of negative attention to not only myself, but my family, the club, the game as well, and that's what has hurt me the most.

Cleary vows to learn from mistakes

"To move on from here I need to realise I can't change what has already happened, even though I wish I could. The reality is I can't.

"The one thing I can control are my actions moving forward.”

The NSW State of Origin halfback went on to quote 19th century theologian Tryon Edwards when promising to learn from the drama.

"Someone sent me a quote the other day that said, 'Good actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past'," he said.

"And that's what I'll be taking on board. It's a massive learning curve for me. I've learnt a lot about myself and I never want to go through this again.

"This could be the moment I can kick on, especially as a leader and as a person and become better. That's the positive I'm taking out of this, if there is any."

Panthers Group boss Brian Fletcher conceded there had to be "meaningful consequences" when players fell short of upholding standards of behaviour.

The suspensions comes as a serious blow for Penrith, given Cleary had been in a rich vein of form as he helped Penrith to start the two-round season unbeaten.

Coach Ivan Cleary, father of Nathan, will now likely be forced to turn to rookie half Matt Burton to partner Jarome Luai when the competition resumes on May 28.

with AAP