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Dragons' Origin stars not part of Vaughan party breach allegations

Origin selections Ben Hunt and Tariq Sims are not part of the 12 Dragons players under investigation for breaching stay-at-home orders and NRL biosecurity rules.

The Dragons announced on Sunday morning that an investigation into a gathering at the home of a high-profile St George Illawarra player was being undertaken by both police and the NRL Integrity Unit.

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo told Fox League on Sunday night that he was disappointed in Dragons veteran Paul Vaughan, who has allegedly hosted the group of players at his house.

"It is disappointing and it is not the first time, unfortunately, that Paul has not adhered to the biosecurity protocols. He incurred a breach action last year and this is the second time," he said.

"At this stage, it is our understanding he's hosted a party at his house.

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"We expect more from the players but this is an ongoing investigation, we will get all the facts, we'll make sure those facts are substantiated and then we will take the action following that."

Abdo said he was hopeful of finalising the investigation and announcing its findings in the coming days, with players involved unable to attend training until the matter is resolved.

The St George Illawarra players who were involved in the gathering have been issued $1000 fines by police.

Another member of the Dragons' NRL bubble on Monday was found to have also have been in attendance and issued a $1000 Penalty Infringement Notice by NSW Police.

"Following inquiries, another 30-year-old man was identified as being at the home; he has now been issued with a $1000 PIN for breaching a stay at home direction," NSW Police said in a statement.

The NRL is continuing its investigations to determine whether any further players were involved.

Key to the NRL's investigation will be whether any attendees at Vaughan's house were from outside the Dragons' biosecurity bubble, which would likely result in a 14-day isolation period for players to ensure no potential exposure risks before they return to the club's bubble.

It is understood Hunt and Sims were not involved in the alleged breach, leaving them free to play for Queensland and NSW respectively in next Wednesday's Origin III. Dragons hooker Andrew McCullough, was dropped by the Maroons on Monday with Hunt taking the No.9 jersey.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys labelled the players involved as "arrogant".

It is not the first time, unfortunately, that Paul [Vaughan] has not adhered to the biosecurity protocols

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo

"It is crazy that they think, one, that they can do it and, two, that they can get away with it," Worboys told The Today Show on Monday.

"I think there is a touch of arrogance about it. To their credit, they were cooperative with police when police finally went to the home and made those inquiries the next day.

"So let’s just hope it sends a really good message now not just to NRL players but to everyone."

It's understood St George Illawarra officials were informed of the matter by players involved on Saturday night.

The club's first-grade squad was given the weekend off after Friday's golden-point win over the Warriors and now have a two-week break between games.

They are next in action on July 16 against Manly after a bye next weekend.

Abdo remains confident Melbourne Storm players will be granted exemptions by the Victorian government to travel two days earlier for Origin III without having to quarantine afterward.

A venue for the July 14 clash is still yet to be finalised with Newcastle the leading contender to host a first Origin game.

Under the current Greater Sydney lockdown, which extends to Wollongong and Shellharbour, a reasonable excuse is needed to visit another person's house.

The NRL's Level 4 Apollo protocols also dictate that players must remain at home unless training, playing or completing an essential household task and visitors are not permitted into the homes of players or officials.

Previous breaches of Apollo protocols have resulted in players being fined and suspended, depending on the severity of the indiscretion.

Five Bulldogs players and Sharks star Josh Dugan were ordered into isolation for ignoring NRL directives or biosecurity protocols, with Canterbury fined $50,000 and Dugan hit with a $25,000 breach notice last week.

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