England and Leeds Super League fullback Zak Hardaker has been fined one month’s salary and must take an anger management course after being arrested by police investigating an assault on a student.
Hardaker and Leeds teammate Elliot Minchella last month were released without charge after helping police investigating the incident in Leeds on February 3, with both players agreeing to pay STG200 ($A388) compensation and issuing a written apology under a “community resolution”.
On Wednesday, the Rhinos announced the results of their own investigation, with five players being punished, Hardaker the most strongly.
Hardaker will donate one month’s pay to charity, take an anger management course and do up to 20 hours a week of voluntary work for the remainder of his Rhinos contract.
Minchella has received a written warning and fined 50 per cent of his monthly salary, while three other players on the night out – Rob Mulhern, Josh Walters and Ash Handley – have received a fine and a verbal warning.
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “The Leeds Rhinos players’ code of conduct prohibits players from visiting licensed premises after midnight without prior permission from me or the head coach.
“Our investigation has revealed this regulation was breached by five players on a midweek evening before the start of this season.
“Furthermore, Zak Hardaker and Elliot Minchella were involved in an incident at a student accommodation building, which led to a police investigation and a written apology from both players to a student and a STG200 compensation payment from Hardaker and Minchella.
“Our internal investigation has now concluded. It has been an exhaustive process and we are always disappointed when players fall below the standards we expect of them and let everyone else down. The players themselves are embarrassed and very apologetic and I am sure it has been a lesson learned for all involved.”
Hardaker received a harsher punishment than Minchella due to his previous record of misconduct.
The 23-year-old was fined STG2500 ($A4850) and given a warning by Leeds for breaching their code of conduct after being thrown out of England’s World Cup squad in 2013 for misconduct.
He also served a five-match ban imposed by the Rugby Football League last June after being found guilty of making homophobic comments to referee James Child during a game at Warrington.