You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor.

Canterbury players Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor have been granted show cause notice extensions by the NRL  following alleged incidents during the club's pre-season trip to Port Macquarie in February.

Harawira-Naera, 24, and Okunbor, 23, were stood down by the Bulldogs last Tuesday and handed show cause notices by the game's governing body for allegedly breaching the NRL's code of conduct.

Neither player is under criminal investigation but their futures at Belmore remain under a cloud after they allegedly brought high school students back to the team's hotel prior to the side's trial game against Canberra.

The players were due to submit a response to the NRL by Tuesday afternoon but Bulldogs coach Dean Pay confirmed the club had asked for more time and their request was granted.

An NRL spokesman confirmed each player would have a further five business days to submit a response.

"The Bulldogs requested and due to the serious nature of the allegations the request was accepted," an NRL spokesman said on Wednesday.

Harawira-Naera and Okunbor have been suspended from training and playing duties until the investigation is completed.

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald last week detailed how the incidents cost the club a $2 million sponsorship deal with restaurant chain Rashays. 

We're strong on our standards and values.

Dean Pay

Pay was hopeful the club could find a new major sponsor soon despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're a united club and have good people in the place," Pay said.

"We're strong on our standards and values. It's important we stick together in these times.

"The people at the leagues club are so supportive of us."

Canterbury held their final training session run at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday morning with Pay eager to have his side train at the empty venue prior to their round-two clash with the Cowboys on Thursday night. 

The Bulldogs offered a strong defensive display in their 8-2 loss to the Eels a week ago but they struggled with the ball in hand despite enjoying 52% of possession in the match.

Pay's outfit ranked well alongside most top eight sides defensively in 2019 but their average of 13.6 points scored per game is a figure they're trying to improve on.

"We've put a lot of hard work into our defence, we want to build a foundation off that," Pay said.

"We want to score a few more points and that will come as we go along, we're working hard in that area."

Pay has called in teenage prodigy Jake Averillo to make his NRL debut from the bench.

Averillo starred in the club's recent Nines campaign in Perth but unfortunately will not be able to have family and friends in attendance for his big moment due to the crowd ban in place.

"Jake's a local boy, he has come through our system and can play a number of positions," Pay said.

"He can play in the halves, centres, wing and fullback. It's ideal to have him on the bench. He's a talented kid and we're all excited about him.

"If nothing happens injury-wise or HIA-wise I'm going to have to find a way to get him on the field."

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners