NRL club the Parramatta Eels were unaware one of its star players was involved in a drink drive crash in central Auckland earlier this month.

The Eels have today stood down Peni Hillip Terepo after learning of his drunken crash in central Auckland on January 8.

Today, Terepo pleaded guilty at Auckland District Court to careless driving and refusing to give a blood alcohol test, the Herald revealed.

The western Sydney NRL club said in a statement it was only made aware of the matter following the Herald's report.


Parramatta Eels chief executive Bernie Gurr said the club was "extremely disappointed" with Terepo's behaviour and regarded the incident as "extremely serious".

"Upon learning of Peni's conviction, we have immediately alerted the NRL Integrity Unity this morning and emphasised that no club official was aware of this incident," he said.

"Peni has been stood down from all official club duties effective immediately and will also not be considered for selection in our Auckland Nines squad.

"We will be making no further comment until we speak with Peni early next week and receive his comments.

During sentencing today, the court heard that Terepo crashed his car while driving along Parnell Rise.

After police arrived, the 25-year-old was asked to give a blood alcohol reading. However, the Auckland-born Tongan international player refused.

Terepo leads the Tongan war dance Sipi Tau before the match against Samoa last year in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images
Terepo leads the Tongan war dance Sipi Tau before the match against Samoa last year in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

Community Magistrate Leigh Langridge said Terepo, who was supported in court by his mum, was "significantly intoxicated".

"It was some type of accident, police noted you did significant damage to your car and were thrown into the windscreen.

"It sounds like you were very lucky you weren't more hurt."

Terepo's lawyer argued her client, who was flying out of New Zealand tomorrow, gave an early guilty plea in the hope of dealing with the matter quickly.

"He made an error of judgment and is truly remorseful for what he has done," she said.

Terepo, who has a wife and two young children, wished to apply for a discharge without conviction, but Langridge convicted him, fined him $500, ordered him to pay $130 in court costs and disqualified him from driving for seven months.

When approached by the Herald outside court, Terepo declined to comment about his case.

The 186cm forward has played 74 NRL games for Parramatta since he debuted during the 2013 season, and played in 23 games last year.

He also played for the Eels' NRL Auckland Nines-winning squad last year, and has played several games for Tonga, including at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in England and Wales.

Terepo's convictions come on the back of a string of controversies which plagued the NRL last year.

The Parramatta Eels were found guilty of cheating the NRL's salary cap, leading to the club losing 12 competition points, having five club officials banned, fined $1m, and stripped of its 2016 Auckland Nines title.

On Australia Day last year Sydney Roosters star Mitchell Pearce was also filmed simulating a lewd act with a dog, while in April six New Zealand Warriors players were stood down following a night out of mixing prescription drugs and energy drinks.