‘It was so stupid’: Dragons player on booze ban before Mudgee incident

Key points

  • St George Illawarra pair Mikaele Ravalawa and Zane Musgrove have broken their silence on drunken Mudgee incident
  • Musgrove said he hadn’t been drinking for months before hotel argument
  • Ravalawa can’t remember the altercation and wants to repay the club after unwanted headlines

Dragons prop Zane Musgrove had been on an alcohol ban for months before an early morning confrontation in Mudgee with teammate Mikaele Ravalawa, who described his own actions as “stupid” and vowed to repay the club.

St George Illawarra captain Ben Hunt pledged to stop the Dragons’ off-field misdemeanours as Musgrove and Ravalawa apologised for their hotel incident after the Charity Shield drubbing against South Sydney.

In their first comments about the drunken dawn argument in which Musgrove and Ravalawa needed to be calmed down by teammates outside the team hotel, Musgrove said he hadn’t drunk alcohol for months beforehand.

“I didn’t touch a drop,” Musgrove said. “I was off the drink for a while. I slipped up and I apologised to the boys and we’re looking to move on now. We dealt with it as a club and we’ve had our meetings. Mika and I, as well as the boys, need to move on from it now.”

While Musgrove said he remembered the blow-up, a contrite Ravalawa said he couldn’t remember all the details the day after the Charity Shield.

“I was really upset on myself,” Ravalawa said. “I was just so stupid and I let the club and the team down. I want to get back on the playing ground this year, rip in and show them how sorry I am. I am very upset with myself. I don’t remember it, which is why I’m upset.

Zane Musgrove and Mikaele Ravalawa were involved in an argument in Mudgee after the Charity Shield.Credit:Getty and Dragons

“It was just an argument about the game. At the start of the season I shouldn’t be drinking that much. It was stupid, too much.”

Many St George Illawarra players had enjoyed a night out after their Charity Shield loss and returned to bed at an appropriate time, but Musgrove and Ravalawa kept drinking back in their room.

The Dragons fined both Musgrove and Ravalawa with the players accepting the sanctions. The pair said there is no bad blood between them.

“We’re really good,” Ravalawa said. “We came back on the bus and we were chatting again. We’re pretty much best friends and he’s a teammate.”

Said Musgrove: “No issues. When I came to the club we were tight straight away. We would hang out and it was just one of those things that happened.”

Australian and Queensland star Hunt said the club had drawn a line in the sand after a torrid off-season in which Junior Amone has been subject to the no-fault stand-down policy for his role in an alleged rooftop hammer attack. His matter is before the courts.

Forward Francis Molo also pleaded guilty in court last week to a charge of stalking/intimidating a woman.

“I had a little conversation [with the squad] about what’s happened has happened,” Hunt said. “Things are going to happen in rugby league, but we need to move on from it now.

“That stuff isn’t going to happen here any more. It’s just little things and distractions we don’t need. The best thing we can do is move on and start winning games and the rest will take care of itself.”

The Dragons, second favourite behind only the NRL’s new boys the Dolphins to win the wooden spoon, will start their season against the Titans in round two after a bye this weekend.

“I do see [us as a finals team],” Musgrove said. “We’ve got a good roster. They probably haven’t quite made it yet. There’s been games during the season they should have won which they didn’t.

“We’ve got a good team and we know what ‘Hook’ [coach Anthony Griffin] wants from us. It’s about us going out there and performing.”

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