NRL boss Todd Greenberg is adamant no formal investigations have begun, nor have any specific allegations been made, of match-fixing in the game.
The governing body was rocked on Thursday by reports two games from the 2015 season were being investigated by the NSW organised crime squad for fixing games.
However Greenberg, who also threatened life bans for any player or official found guilty of match-fixing, stressed the probe remains in an embryonic stage.
“There is no specific allegation yet, no charges, no formal investigation by police and we should be careful not to jump to conclusions,” Greenberg said.
Fairfax Media reported gambling identity Eddie Hayson allegedly claimed he paid six NRL players $50,000 to fix a game last year.
He was alleged to have bet up to $500,000 in cash on South Sydney defeating Manly by more than eight points in a round 16 fixture, and that he also instructed an unnamed jockey to make separate bets of $120,000 and $100,000 on the same outcome.
South Sydney won the match 20-8.
Manly’s defeat to the Rabbitohs is one of two Sea Eagles matches understood to be under investigation by the crime squad, with the other being a round 24 loss to Parramatta.
“The organised crime squad is in the early stages of examining information relating to alleged match fixing in the NRL,” a police spokeswoman said.
“No further comment is appropriate at this stage.”
However one setback for the investigation could be a lack of money invested on either game, with one prominent bookmaker insisting there were no irregular bets placed before or during both fixtures.
A spokesperson for another bookmaking agency re-iterated how closely it works with the NRL to protect the integrity of the sport.
“Sportsbet has an integrity and information sharing agreement with the code which is a cornerstone of protecting the integrity of the game, where we immediately report any suspicious betting behaviour to the NRL and/or law enforcement agencies,” a sportsbet.com.au spokesperson said.
“It should be noted that account-based wagering delivers substantially stronger integrity measures.
“In addition to Sportsbet’s rigorous account-opening procedures including identity verification checks, there is complete and instant visibility over the identity of the person placing the bet and the amount and the location from which they are betting.
“Sportsbet, like the NRL, will cooperate with the ongoing investigation.”