The Parramatta Eels have released a statement to its members from Chief Executive Bernie Gurr regarding Peni Terepo.
The Parramatta National Rugby League club Pty Limited has reviewed the recent incident involving Peni Terepo in the early morning of Sunday 8 January 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Last Friday, Peni pleaded guilty to careless driving and refusing to give a blood alcohol test. Peni has admitted that he had been drinking.
The club was unaware of this incident until it was reported in the New Zealand media last Friday (27 January 2017).
In the interests of fairness, we have spoken with Peni in order to hear his version of events. In addition, we have spoken with his manager, the Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) and the NRL Integrity Unit.
In order to consider all elements around this incident, our club has conducted internal discussions with our staff, including head coach Brad Arthur, and other coaching and support staff; accordingly, other pertinent considerations are:
• Peni came over from New Zealand in 2009 and entered the Parramatta Eels junior development program and so the 2017 NRL season will be Peni's ninth season with our club. Peni is 25 years old.
• Peni has played 123 games for the Eels, 74 in the NRL and another 49 in the Junior Representative teams. Of the current senior playing squad, Peni has played the second highest number of games for our club (behind Tim Mannah).
• During his time at our club, Peni has not been involved in any prior unacceptable incident. This is his first offence.
• Peni has been a valuable contributor to our club's community activities.
• Peni is well-respected by his fellow players and the club's coaching & support staff.
• In our discussions, Peni has accepted total responsibility, apologised to the club and demonstrated genuine remorse for his actions.
The club views drink driving as an extremely serious offence. We have reiterated to Peni in very strong terms that this behaviour is totally unacceptable. The other concerning element of this incident was that Peni did not advise the club.
The club is of the opinion that Peni has acted in breach of his National Rugby League Playing Contract. Under the terms of the NRL Playing Contract, the club is permitted to take action when a player is in breach of the NRL Playing Contract.
The club has determined to take the following action:
1. Fine Peni Terepo an amount of $15,000 from his 2017 Playing Fee.
2. Suspend Peni Terepo for the following matches:
• The 2017 Auckland Nines tournament.
• The first three (3) 2017 NRL matches of the club.
• Peni Terepo will also not be permitted to play in the club's NSWRL Cup team during this period.
3. Have Peni Terepo engage in educational courses related to drink-driving.
Peni has accepted the above action by the club.
Our club has maintained a constructive dialogue with Peni's manager, the NRL Integrity Unit and the RLPA during this process.