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The National Rugby League (NRL) has issued the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Club with a Breach Notice for failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure its players comply with NRL Rules. The notice proposes the club is fined $50,000.

The specifics of the notice allege the club failed to immediately notify its playing squad and football staff of additional restrictions that were placed on Sydney-based NRL clubs on 17 June. It also alleges when the club communicated the changes on 18 June, that it failed to effectively communicate the restrictions to ensure players and officials understood exactly the obligations placed on them.

The NRL has also issued breach notices to players Dylan Napa, Brandon Wakeham, Corey Waddell, Sione Katoa and Aaron Schoupp for attending the Coogee Bay Hotel and Royal Hotel in Bondi on 20 June after the NRL had mandated players and officials could not attend any restaurants, pubs or bars in the Waverley or Randwick Local Government Areas. The Players did not breach any NSW Health Orders in attending those venues.

The breach notice proposes the following fines which take into account the varying salaries of the players and the alleged shortcomings of the club’s communications.

Dylan Napa $5,000

Brandon Wakeham $1,750

Corey Waddell $1,500

Sione Katoa $1,250

Aaron Schoupp $250

The players must also complete 14 days self-isolation in compliance with NSW Government Health Orders after being deemed close contacts of a positive case.

NRL Chief Executive 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. All clubs and players have a responsibility to ensure they comply with the rules to keep themselves and the community safe,’’ he said.

“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 club and the players have 5 working days to respond to the Breach Notices before they are finally determined.

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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