Dogs disappointed with sanctions

THE Bulldogs have been handed a $50,000 breach notice for failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure their players comply with the NRL’s biosecurity rules and five players have been fined.
The NRL announced on Wednesday that the club had failed to immediately notify its playing squad and football staff of additional restrictions that were placed on Sydney based NRL clubs on June 17.
It also alleges when the club communicated the changes the following day, “it failed to effectively communicate the restrictions to ensure players and officials understood exactly the obligations placed on them”.
The five players who attended the Coogee Bay Hotel and Royal Hotel in Bondi on June 20 – Dylan Napa, Brandon Wakeham, Corey Waddell, Sione Katoa and Aaron Schoupp – have also been issued breach notices.
The breach notice proposes fines which take into account the varying salaries of the players and the alleged shortcomings of the club’s communications.
Those fined were: Dylan Napa, $5000; Brandon Wakeham, $1750; Corey Waddell, $1500; Sione Katoa, $1250; and Aaron Schoupp, $250.
The players must complete 14 days self-isolation in compliance with NSW Government Health Orders after being deemed close contacts of a positive case, ruling them out of Canterbury’s matches against Manly this Saturday and the Roosters seven days later.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said clubs had a responsibility to ensure their players clearly understand the biosecurity protocols.
“Our biosecurity protocols are the most important part of the competition, they are our licence to continue playing during the pandemic,” he said.
“All clubs and players have a responsibility to ensure they comply with the rules to keep themselves and the community safe.
“In this instance we believe the Bulldogs failed to ensure the upgraded protocols were clearly explained to their players.
“This sanction sends a clear message to every club that you must do everything possible to ensure players understand the protocols.
“The players also have an obligation to seek further information if they are unsure of the upgraded biosecurity advice.
“Given the breach took place several days after the upgraded protocols had been communicated, we believe a sanction upon the players is also appropriate. In issuing the sanctions, we have taken into account that the players had a degree of confusion about the protocols.”
The Bulldogs said they were disappointed at the sanctions handed down by the NRL regarding communications and would be “conducting a thorough internal review and will respond to the sanctions within the five-day period”.