Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
As seems to be the case most years, unfortunately, the NRL has recently been rocked by off field incidents involving its talent as teams started to be eliminated from the 2021 NRL competition and players let their hair down after a long year, which saw the league move to Queensland in July.
Most players have remained well disciplined and behaved; however, there have been some hiccups.
Reece Walsh of the New Zealand Warriors was arrested last Saturday night for failing to follow a directive from the police to move on from where he was situated and was later found with narcotics on his person, with the 19-year-old putting out a statement.
“I had some [cocaine] during the night,” Walsh said.
“No one else is involved in this, it’s solely on me.
“I’m putting my hand up, I should never have done it. It’s a mistake I made and I’m aware of that.”
The NRL is to investigate two Melbourne Storm players over a video that has emerged on social media after they crashed out of the NRL premiership race, via @BuzzRothfield
— Courier Mail Sport (@cmail_sport) September 27, 2021
“I’m really remorseful, I’m sorry to the sponsors, the fans, the Warriors.”
On Monday a video was released of what looked to be two stars of the Melbourne Storm at a get together with a white substance visible.
The Storm have today released the following statement on the matter.
“Melbourne Storm is aware of a video provided to the NRL Integrity Unit yesterday,” stated the club.
“The club and players involved are cooperating with the NRL Integrity Unit investigation.
“As the matter is currently under investigation, the club is not in a position to comment further until this process has been completed.”
In response to these two situations, Australian Rugby League Chairman Peter V’Landys has spoken publicly.
“I don’t believe we have a drug problem, no more than what’s happening in the community,” stated V’Landys.
“I can’t fathom why players would want to put drugs into their body, hurt their body and fry their brains.
“That’s why I say to players … ‘Why would you want to jeopardise your health and fry your brain?’
“The players are part of society and drugs are in the community, so naturally that will translate to rugby league as well.
Although V’Landys believes that this is not a big problem throughout the NRL’s playing group, he has pleaded with players to not partake in the use and consumption of narcotics, with the 59-year-old warning players to not “fry their brains”.
On top of this situation, V’Landys and the NRL are currently working out the logistics to possibly move the 2021 NRL Grand Final between the Penrith Panthers and South Sydney Rabbitohs this Sunday night to Townsville, as a recent COVID-19 outbreak in Brisbane may force the city into a snap lockdown.