League: NRL sends warning letter about player behaviour to clubs ahead of Nines

The NRL Integrity Unit has issued clubs with a letter warning them about expectations around player behaviour, in the wake of recent off-field scandals. Photo/Getty.
The NRL Integrity Unit has issued clubs with a letter warning them about expectations around player behaviour, in the wake of recent off-field scandals. Photo/Getty.

The head of the NRL's Integrity Unit has issued a warning to the 288 players that are participating in this weekend's Downer NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park in the wake of recent off-field scandals.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph reports that Nick Weeks emailed a letter to chief executives of the 16 clubs yesterday to remind them that their players will be under the spotlight following last week's Mitchell Pearce scandal and the drama that occurred during last weekend's Queensland Rookies camp, which saw Cronulla's Valentine Holmes and Melbourne's Cameron Munster receive 12-month State of Origin bans.

A copy of the email was leaked to the Daily Telegraph last night, and reportedly details how every team will have a security guard accompanying them 24-7.

"After a generally positive off-season we are working through some recent incidents of player misconduct that are damaging to the game," wrote Weeks.

"At the December meeting we discussed the importance of avoiding any off-field incidents during the Auckland 9s.

"I want to enlist the support of each of you to ensure the behaviour of your players and staff is impeccable.

"We have delivered this message to NRL staff travelling to Auckland.

"Please ensure the NRL's expectations are understood by your players and staff travelling to Auckland."

Furthermore, every club will have the assistance of an off-duty New Zealand policeman on hand at evening functions and team dinners.

It is expected most clubs will place curfews on their players in a bid to ensure there are no major late night incidents.

"These liaison officers will stay with your team and provide helpful local knowledge and contacts," Weeks said.

"But ultimately the onus is on each Club to put in place sensible measures to reduce the risk of any player or official misconduct."

Weeks' warning reportedly followed discussions with Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant, who is said to be furious with the recent scandals that have enveloped the game.

Holmes was tipped to be one of the tournament's star attractions but was withdrawn from the Sharks squad as punishment for his bad behaviour while in Brisbane at the emerging Maroons Origin camp.

The 20-year-old was fined $1412 for obstructing police and causing a public nuisance at a taxi rank at 4:45am on Sunday.

Munster was handed his Origin ban solely for breaking curfew, but the 21-year-old fullback will still accompany the side to Auckland.

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