Storm trio fined a combined $49,000, banned for one game
Melbourne Storm trio Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis have been suspended one match and fined a combined $49,000 for the white substance video scandal.
New Zealand Warriors rookie fullback Reece Walsh, meantime, has been hit with a two-match ban and a $5000 fine by the NRL for his cocaine arrest on the Gold Coast last month.
Brandon Smith and Cameron Munster in a room with white powder has left them $45,000 out of pocket.
The governing body said the proposed fines took into account the “varying salaries of each individual” and the fact their actions had brought the game into disrepute.
The Storm trio are expected to front the media later on Tuesday. The club will come down with their own sanctions.
“I understand that players have endured a long season under strict protocols, however there is no excuse for the behaviour we have seen over the past week,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.
“The players have let themselves, their clubs and the rugby league community down.
“These sanctions are designed to include an element of rehabilitation and development as well as having consequences for the individual and team.”
Walsh apologised for his actions less than 24 hours after being charged by police in Surfers Paradise.
Munster was fined $30,000, Smith $15,000 and Lewis $4000 with the three players to all miss the Storm’s opening match next season.
Video footage of Munster and Smith partying in a hotel room with what appeared to be a white substance surfaced just hours before last Monday’s Dally M awards.
There was talk of the players skipping the awards night, but the NRL informed Melbourne one of the players was in line to win a positional award, and it would have been a worse look if their name was read out and the stage left empty.
Storm chairman Matt Tripp wanted to handle the situation quickly like the Warriors did with Walsh.
“We never wanted this to fester, it’s against the Melbourne Storm’s wishes and we would have had this nipped in the bud 24 hours after we became aware of it,” Tripp told the Herald last week.
“There is zero tolerance at the club, we strive to be better than most, and we need to fix that.”
More to come
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