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The NRL has today warned all clubs and players that it will continue to investigate allegations of vilification on the field following reports that Bulldogs player Ben Hannant was the subject of taunts about his religion in Friday night’s match against Wests Tigers.

Despite his apparent anger on the field, Ben Hannant and the Bulldogs have declined the right to make a complaint under the NRL’s Anti Vilification code. They have also declined to provide any other information which would allow the NRL to act under its code of conduct.

The NRL Match Review Committee today examined vision and audio from the match and spoke with on-field officials to determine if they could verify what may have been said on the field.

The inability to determine the exact nature of what was said and the absence of a complaint have prevented any further action.

“It is unacceptable to suggest that everything that happens on the field stays on the field,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“If nothing else, this matter should serve as a reminder that there are limits to what can be said on the field and that we all have to acknowledge society standards.

“The Anti-Vilification policy is in place to support players who wish to make a stand on these issues and we also have the ability, where we can establish sufficient evidence of our own, to take action outside of the policy.

“There is certainly an element of frustration when an issue like this is raised and not satisfactorily answered.

“We can, however, only deal with the facts that we have and remind everyone that where we do have sufficient evidence on which to act, we will continue to do so.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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