Paul Vaughan loses $800,000 contract after Dragons party scandal

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·Sports Reporter
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Paul Vaughan was sacked by St George Illawarra after a flagrant breach of public health orders.
Paul Vaughan's contract with St George Illawarra has been terminated after the Dragons prop hosted a party for teammates in breach of public health orders and NRL rules. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Paul Vaughan has found himself out of a job after copping an eight match suspension from the NRL for hosting a party in defiance of public health orders.

The St George Illawarra prop was fined $50,000 by the NRL for breaking the league's Covid protocols, in addition to the $1000 fine issued by NSW Police.

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In addition to the aforementioned penalties, Vaughan has had the remainder of his reported $750,000 a year contract with the Dragons scrapped.

Vaughan had 15 months left to run on his deal with the Dragons.

All 13 players as well as Vaughan's partner were fined by NSW Police, and it has since emerged that Jack de Belin and a handful of others misled authorities, the club and the NRL's integrity unit to cover up that he had been in attendance.

Adding to the club's frustration is that Saturday's party was Vaughan's second breach of the NRL's biosecurity rules after he attended a cafe while in the NRL bubble last season.

Dragons CEO Ryan Webb issued a statement after announcing the termination of Vaughan's contract, saying the club firmly stood behind the sanctions handed down to the players.

"The board haven't taken any of the 13 players' actions lightly and reinforced this on Tuesday morning by taking these additional actions including the termination of Paul Vaughan's contract," Dragons CEO Ryan Webb said in a statement.

"The club maintains it holds no reservations over the punishments already handed down by the NRL Integrity Unit and New South Wales Police.

"These additional penalties have been determined in such a way that the beneficiaries will be those affected by the players' misconduct."

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Earlier on Tuesday NRL CEO Andrew Abdo slammed the players for putting the competition at risk with a premeditated party while the state deals with an uncertain COVID-19 situation.

"When I think about all that's at stake and I think about how many people are working incredibly hard to keep our competition going and keep the community safe, yeah, I was gutted," Abdo told Channel Nine.

"But we've worked incredibly hard in two days to get to the bottom of what happened. Our integrity team did a terrific job.

"We've now dealt with it. The players understand the consequences and I think it sends a message to all the other players too, that we won't tolerate any breaches of those protocols. They are critical to keep the season going."

All other players involved have been issued with one-game suspensions and varying fines, with the bans to be served over the next month.

Dragons player Paul Vaughan has been banned for eight games and fined $50,000 by the NRL for hosting a party for teammates at his Shellharbour home in breach of public health orders. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Dragons player Paul Vaughan has been banned for eight games and fined $50,000 by the NRL for hosting a party for teammates at his Shellharbour home in breach of public health orders. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The NRL said the punishment also took into account that information was withheld from the sport's governing body after it emerged only on Monday that Jack de Belin also attended the party.

De Belin was one of the hardest players hit as he copped a $42,000 fine from the league, while Corey Norman's financial penalty sat at $50,000.

In a bid to save the club from fielding a reserve grade team, each of the players' one-game bans can be split across multiple rounds of the NRL.

Nevertheless, it is likely to have a significant impact on their finals run with Josh McGuire, Jack Bird, Matt Dufty and Zac Lomax among other the high-profile players caught up in the scandal.

With AAP

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