NRL players Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell and now Nathan Cleary have been caught breaking government-imposed social distancing rules, as the code looks to be the first major sport to return to action.
As the NRL continues to juggle the after-effects of COVID-19 disrupting the code, the headlines Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Nathan Cleary have created another headache.
Mitchell and Addo-Carr, along with Newcastle Knights player Tyronne Roberts-Davis, were fined $1000 each by police for breaching current social-distancing regulations by going on a camping trip with nine others in Taree, NSW.
But today Cleary was also revealed to have broken the same regulations by posing for pics cuddling up to a group of female friends over at his house on ANZAC Day.
All four players have been slapped with fines by the NRL.
Mitchell and Addo-Carr were given $50,000 fines - 60 per cent of which is suspended for the rest of the season.
Roberts-Davis and Cleary were handed $10,000 fines - also 60 per cent suspended.
All four have also been handed suspended one-match bans.
The players have five days to respond to their breach notices before the NRL confirms its decision.
Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo also released a statement.
"The sanctions proposed today are stronger than fines which can be imposed by authorities because we hold our players to a higher standard and they must set a higher standard for the community," Abdo said.
Channel Nine reporter Danny Weidler stated that several players and coaches are spewing at the camping trio's actions over the weekend.
"I’ve spoken to players across the game and they’re really pissed off. Coaches are really annoyed,” Weidler said on The Big Sports Breakfast.
"I will always stick up for players but in this regard I find it really hard to justify their actions
"A lot of people out there want to see their families. A lot of people have lost their jobs. Football staff lost their jobs. People are unable to put food on the table due to this coronavirus.
"They have to be better than that."
Mitchell later claimed on Instagram that he had been unfairly treated.
View this post on Instagram
Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has expressed his disappointment in the trio's behaviour, even suggesting that Mitchell's and Addo-Carr's national team status could be in jeopardy.
"We've got a values system that is really important, for how we do things," Meninga said on Fox League.
"One of those things is about being good role models. When you put on the green and gold jersey, you accept that responsibility to be a leader in our game and in the community.
"They have shown they can't be trusted, for me, it makes me look at whether they are deserving of a green and gold jersey."
Weidler also shed light on Cleary's situation.
"Fresh photos have emerged of Nathan Cleary failing to observe social distancing,” he told Channel Nine.
"The photos were given to Nine News and they show Nathan Cleary on ANZAC Day with a group of females.
"I’ve had a brief conversation with Nathan Cleary and he’s explained to me that there are some of his friends, they popped into his place on their way to getting an Uber."
All players have apologised but could face police probes.