Mitchell Pearce has denied being affected by drugs during his infamous Australia Day antics, as crunch time looms for the NRL playmaker.
Pearce is likely to be sanctioned this week by his club Sydney Roosters over the incident, with the NSW State of Origin playmaker facing a reported six-week stint on the sidelines and a $50,000 fine.
The 2013 premiership winner told Alan Jones on Fairfax Radio on Monday that only drink, not drugs was the cause of his problems.
Jones asked Pearce if speculation that he was affected by drugs on the night he was videoed simulating a lewd act with a dog. was accurate, to which Pearce replied “no”.
Pearce also denied urinating in the Bondi apartment where the video was taken, and said he does not know the man who filmed the incident.
“My coach Trent Robinson gave me a call and explained to me there was a video of me from the night before which blew my mind a bit,” he said.
Having acknowledged he had an alcohol problem, Pearce spent a month at a rehabilitation clinic in Thailand before returning to Sydney on Sunday.
“Emotionally I’ve needed to grow up, I’m under no illusions about that,” he said.
“I’m not going to hide away from the fact that I love to have a beer. It’s been an ongoing part of my life since I was 18.
“But for me it hasn’t had positive effects at all. Drinking and partying has affected not only myself but my family and my club.”
Pearce hopes his return to Australia also includes a reunion with the Roosters, however that may not be the case if the NRL’s women’s advisor Catherine Lumby has her way.
“Personally I wouldn’t (allow him back in the game) because of all the support and education he has had and the fact he is a senior leader who should know better,” she told News Corp Australia.
“He has had ample opportunity (to learn).”
Pearce is likely to discover his fate this week, with new Roosters chief executive John Lees already showing some signs of contrition for the club’s halfback.
“There was no violence involved,” he told Fairfax Media.
“There was ultimately no bigger crime or major sort of criminal matter, but it’s a serious societal issue and that’s why we’re taking it seriously.”
If the NRL integrity unit is not satisfied with Pearce’s punishment handed down by the Roosters, it can come over the top of the club and hit him with a greater sanction.