The NRL has come down hard after a series of Covid rule breaches slapping the Canterbury Bulldogs and Cronulla star Josh Dugan with a combined $75,000 in fines.
Dugan will also have to serve 14 days in isolation after attending a restaurant in Potts Point, last week, in breach of Level 3 biosecurity protocols which required players to remain at home unless training, playing or conducting essential household requirements.
The NRL said Dugan had been fully informed of his obligations by the Sharks and “and chose not to comply with them”.
He won’t be permitted to return to training until he’s completed his 14-days in isolation from the Sharks squad.
The Bulldogs were also slapped with a $50,000 fine for failing “to take all reasonable measures” to ensure its players complied with the NRL‘s latest Covid restrictions.
Dylan Napa, Brandon Wakeham, Corey Waddell, Sione Katoa and Aaron Schoupp were also issued individual breach notices for attending the Coogee Bay Hotel and Royal Hotel in Bondi on 20 June.
The five players were whacked with a total of $9750 in fines. Napa‘s breach notice carried a $5,000 fine.
An NRL statement said the club failed to immediately notify its playing squad and football staff of additional restrictions that were placed on Sydney based NRL clubs on 17 June.
“I’m sorry.” @Cronulla_Sharks star Josh Dugan steps forward to apologise after becoming latest player to be caught-up in covid bubble breach. @telegraph_sporthttps://t.co/ZkzXgCfb8z
The Bulldogs were also fined for failing to effectively communicate the restrictions to ensure players and officials understood exactly the obligations placed on them.
“Our biosecurity protocols are the most important part of the competition, they are our licence to continue playing during the pandemic. All clubs and players have a responsibility to ensure they comply with the rules to keep themselves and the community safe,’’ NRL boss Andrew Abso said.
“In this instance we believe the Bulldogs failed to ensure the upgraded protocols were clearly explained to their players. This sanction sends a clear message to every club that you must do everything possible to ensure players understand the protocols.
“The players also have an obligation to seek further information if they are unsure of the upgraded biosecurity advice. Given the breach took place several days after the upgraded protocols had been communicated, we believe a sanction upon the players is also appropriate. In issuing the sanctions, we have taken into account that the players had a degree of confusion about the protocols.”
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