May 19, 2022

IDIOTS: Disgraced Dragons players hid under beds and in cupboards as police shut down COVID-breaching party

3 min read

BY CURTIS WOODWARD & KANE AUSTIN

The St George Illawarra Dragons have labeled their own players arrogant and ignorant after the NRL came down hard on the 13 players at the centre of the COVID-19 breach party after they were caught by NSW Police – partying and breaking the stringent rules in place for players in the NRL.

Prop Paul Vaughan is facing the axe by the club and was fined $50,000 and suspended for eight games for hosting the party.

The other players involved are reportedly Daniel Alvaro, Gerard Beale, Jack Bird, Jack de Belin, Matt Dufty, Kaide Ellis, Tyrell Fuimaono, Josh Kerr, Blake Lawrie, Zac Lomax, Josh McGuire and Corey Norman.

They will serve suspensions in the coming weeks.

A furious Dragons CEO Ryan Webb didn’t miss the mark with his statement on Monday.

“The 13 players’ arrogance and ignorance to both the NRL biosecurity protocols and the state government’s public health order is upsetting and infuriating,” Webb said.

“Every member of the club’s Apollo register were communicated their responsibilities and limitations under level four protocols on numerous occasions.

“All 13 players have let the rest of their teammates, the entirety of our hard-working staff, their families, the wider community and most importantly our Red V members, partners and fans, down.

“The entire club and our stakeholders will now be punished as a result of the combined 20-week suspension procured between the 13 players.

“The Dragons hold no reservations over the punishments handed down by the NRL Integrity Unit or NSW Police given the players’ complete disregard for both the game and community’s expectations.”

In total, the players were fined more than $300,000.

It has since been revealed that players, desperately and embarrassingly, tried to evade police as they entered the house including Jack de Belin who hid under a bed.

Others hid in cupboards.

De Belin was hit with a $42,000 fine.

Several players’ futures at the club will go on the line as the Dragons called an emergency board meeting for Tuesday morning.

Incredibly, the Dragons had just secured a golden point win over the Warriors to keep themselves inside the Top 8.

Vaughan also breached COVID protocols in 2020.

“In our view the actions of the players were deliberate and some of the players withheld key information from the Integrity Unit,’’ NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

“On the information we have, the players understood the protocols and deliberately chose to ignore them, they chose to risk the continuity of our competition. The sanctions handed down today puts every player in the game on notice, particularly repeat offenders – this sort of conduct will not be tolerated.

“There are many people working incredibly hard to keep the competition going – it’s a privilege to play football, not a right. We’ve made promises to the community and to state governments and we will do everything we can to honour those promises. I want to stress that there are almost 900 players and officials following strict biosecurity measures and the overwhelming number are doing the right thing, as they did last year.

“We will continue to work with all clubs and state governments to ensure compliance, the health and safety of the community, our players and officials the continuity of the competition.”

It’s also understood NSW Police are investigating whether player’s wives and girlfriends were also at the party.

The players serving one-match suspensions will do so over the next few weeks.

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