'Arrogance': Jack de Belin caught in humiliating NRL 'cover-up'

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·Sports Reporter
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Jack de Belin has been fined after attending a house party hosted by a teammate, in a move NSW police deputy commissioner Gary Worboys labelled as 'arrogant'.
Jack de Belin is the latest St George Illawarra player to be fined for attending a house party at a teammate's home, prompting a furious response from NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys. Pictures: Getty Images

The embarrassing COVID breach scandal plaguing the St George Illawarra Dragons has taken a turn for the worse, with Jack de Belin the latest player to be fined by police.

de Belin, who recently had sexual assault charges against him dropped by the director of public prosecutions after two unsuccessful trials, was fined $1000 for breaching public health orders.

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He and 12 other Dragons teammates were fined by NSW Police after breaking lockdown rules for a house party at teammate Paul Vaughn's home in Shellharbour.

The party was broken up after neighbours made a noise complaint to police.

The 13 players, which includes de Belin, Vaughan, Zac Lomax, Corey Norman, Kaide Ellis, Blake Lawrie, Jack Bird, Daniel Alvaro, Gerard Beale, Matt Dufty, Josh Kerr and Tyrell Fuimaono, have all reportedly been banned from Dragons training.

The Dragons released a statement and accepted that a large numbers of players had broken the NRL's biosecurity bubble and NSW stay-at-home orders.

However, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys labelled the act from the players as 'arrogance' on their behalf.

“It’s just crazy. It’s crazy they think, one, that they can do it and two, that they can get away with it,” he said on Monday.

“I think there’s a touch of arrogance about it.

“Let’s just hope it sends a really good message now not just to NRL players, but to everyone.

“I’ve got no doubt the rugby league club and indeed the governing body will probably take some other action. I don’t think this will be the end of it for those people.”

Leading NRL reporter Danny Weidler posted on Twitter that the Dragons had initially denied de Belin had attended the party, but said neighbours had seen him in the vicinity.

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The NRL Integrity Unit is also investigating.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that none of the Dragons' three State of Origin representatives, Tariq Sims, Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough, were in attendance.

Huge bans called for Paul Vaughan and Corey Norman

Leading NRL reporter Buzz Rothfield called for the like of party host Vaughn and fellow repeat offender Corey Norman to be heavily sanctioned due to their history.

Vaughan was penalised last year after he broke the NRL biosecurity bubble, while Rothfield said Norman's past with the NRL Integrity Unit doesn't sit well with him.

“There are a couple of repeat offenders there and I’m so filthy on them, I’m talking about Paul Vaughan and Corey Norman,” he told the Big Sports Breakfast.

“Vaughan broke the bubble last year in Covid when he shouldn’t have been, Norman has got that many charges he’s on first-name terms with the integrity unit.

“I would like to see these two, both of them, kicked out of the game for a substantial period of time for so blatantly breaking the laws. I really think Vaughan and Norman should be suspended for up to six weeks.”

St George Illawarra's Paul Vaughn has been fined, along with 12 other teammates, after hosting a house party in breach of NSW public health orders. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
St George Illawarra's Paul Vaughn has been fined, along with 12 other teammates, after hosting a house party in breach of NSW public health orders. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The situation could have dire implications for the Dragons' season, given if any person from outside the NRL bubble was present each player would need to be placed in two weeks' of isolation.

Even if there wasn't a biosecurity need to sit players out, there is every chance the NRL could still come down with bans to go with big fines for a blatant bubble breach.

ARL Commissioner Peter V'landys called for players to understand the consequences of what it means to breach the NRL biosecurity bubble.

"The players have to understand that if they don't follow the protocols there will be no game," V'landys told AAP.

"And if there is no game not only does it affect their salary and wages, but also the salary and wages of players in the future.

"Because it will have a dramatic effect on the finances of the game.

"They have to understand they are playing not only for themselves but their fellow players, future players and all the people who make a living out of rugby league.

"That is enough of an incentive for them to follow the protocols."

With AAP

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