Titans player Cody Nelson says he didn't realise bets placed by a mate on his phone were on NRL matches but will cop his two-match ban on the chin.
In a statement, the Titans said it was important Nelson be given the chance to explain his side of the story.
The bets were placed during the 2013 season when Nelson was sidelined with a season ending knee injury, according to the club.
After surgery he returned to his home town of Mullumbimby to recuperate and was at the local leagues club with a mate when he received an advertisement on his phone offering bonus credit for any new account, the Titans said.
"He was encouraged by his mate to open an account but didn’t know how to, so his mate offered to do it for him. After opening the account his mate then placed several bets on the account without Cody’s involvement. These bets included one $10 bet on an NRL game involving the Titans," the Titans statement read.
“I have never been a punter, would not even know how to set up an online account and have never had a bet since that day,” said Nelson, who has explained the circumstances of the bet to the NRL Integrity Unit. “The account that was set up that day was actually deactivated because it was never used again.
“My mate placed the bets and I didn’t even know the details of the bets until I was contacted by the Integrity Unit a few weeks ago.
“I know I should have been more aware of the strict NRL rules about players’ betting and checked whether any of the bets that day were on NRL matches, so I have learned a valuable lesson. But I want to make it clear that I did not knowingly have a bet on the game.”
Nelson was in early stages of rehabilitation with the knee injury at the time and had no contact with Titans players leading up to the bet, the club said.
“I respect the NRL’s concern for the game’s integrity when it comes to gambling but I feel I have been harshly dealt with considering the circumstances, as I will be penalised through lost match payments if I was selected to play the next two games. However I have to accept the NRL’s decision and can’t wait now to return to the field wiser for the experience,” Nelson said.