Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Australian rugby league’s last game marred by revelry

AFP, SYDNEY

Australia’s fuming rugby league head has slammed Canterbury Bulldogs players after they were pictured vomiting and stripping naked at a pub during raucous end-of-season celebrations.

Known as “Mad Monday,” the annual parties for National Rugby League (NRL) teams after their last game have earned a reputation for drunken debauchery.

The Bulldogs lived up to that this week with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph publishing photographs of players throwing up and passing out at a city bar.

One player even stripped naked on the balcony of the watering hole in view of the public with another member of the party grabbing his genitals as he danced the night away.

“It’s embarrassing for the players as individuals themselves, it’s embarrassing for their club and it’s embarrassing for the game,” NRL head Todd Greenberg said late on Tuesday.

“I’m not going to speculate on what sanctions or actions we will take,” he said. “I’ll wait until I get the full details of the report, because I don’t have all the details at the moment.”

The rugby league body has spent years trying to change the sport’s reputation for bad behavior after a series of scandals, and said it was disappointed after making its expectations clear to all clubs.

“I’ve got no problems with people celebrating the end of their season, as long as they do it respectably,” Greenberg said. “On this occasion, they’ve made some poor decisions and poor choices, and that ultimately gives the game a black eye — and that’s what I’m disappointed about.”

One of the most infamous recent incidents to mar the game involved Sydney Roosters scrumhalf Mitchell Pearce, who was caught on camera in 2016 staggering around drunk before launching into an expletive-laden rant about wanting to commit a sex act on a dog.

He was suspended for eight games and fined A$125,000 (US$89,712).

That scandal came two years after Cronulla Sharks star Todd Carney was photographed in the bathroom of a nightclub engaging in a vulgar act while standing at a urinal.

He was sacked for his drunken antics.

The Bulldogs apologized for their players’ behavior this week.

“In regard to images from the team’s get-together on Monday, the club accepts that they were unacceptable and a poor reflection on the individuals involved and the club,” it said. “The players are aware of their responsibilities and the standards required when representing the club and the behaviour was unacceptable and a bad look for the game.”

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