NRL clubs have been put on notice: behave at the Auckland Nines or else.
According to News Corp Australia, the boss of the NRL’s integrity unit, Nick Weeks, has emailed all 16 club CEOs to warn that the game does not need any further controversy as the season approaches.
“After a generally positive off-season we are working through some recent incidents of player misconduct that are damaging to the game,” Weeks reportedly wrote.
The NRL is expected to dish out its punishment to Mitchell Pearce by the end of the week, while six members of Queensland’s Emerging Origin squad, including Cronulla’s Valentine Holmes, found themselves in trouble after breaking curfew on the weekend.
In an effort to avoid similar trouble in Auckland this weekend, each club will have an off-duty local policeman with them at all functions and team dinners.
“These liaison officers will stay with your team and provide helpful local knowledge and contacts,” the email said.
However the email also reminded clubs it was their responsibility to implement measures such as curfews to reduce the risk of trouble from the 288 travelling players.
Off-field dramas have been avoided for the past two years at the pre-season’s gala event.
Meanwhile, the Sharks still appear determined to wrap Holmes up for the long term, despite the winger being stood down from the Auckland event following his brush with Brisbane police on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old was also blacklisted from Queensland selection for a year over the incident, but Sharks coach Shane Flanagan says he is still a large part of Cronulla’s future.
“We believe this was a one-off incident and his future remains as bright as ever,” he said.
“He’s a player we want at Cronulla in years to come and well start the early discussion of what that entails over the next few weeks.”
Holmes is currently signed with the Sharks until the end of 2017.