SYDNEY, Australia, Sep 6 – Two Canterbury Bulldogs players were charged with obscene exposure Thursday and their rugby league club slapped with a hefty fine after drunken end-of-season celebrations in Sydney got out of hand.
Pictures of Bulldogs players vomiting, passed out and naked at a pub were splashed across the Daily Telegraph tabloid in Sydney this week, sparking a furious reaction from the sport’s top bosses.
The National Rugby League on Thursday fined the club Sh18mn (US$180,000) and two players, widely named as Adam Elliott and Asipeli Fine, were charged by police.
A third was issued an infringement notice for offensive conduct.
The Bulldogs imposed their own penalties, with Elliott and Fine fined Aus$25,000 and two other players each ordered to pay Aus$10,000.
“The club accepts that the images and behaviour from the team get-together on Monday were unacceptable and an extremely bad look for the game,” said Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill.
“These are good people who have acted in an immature and juvenile way. They have accepted responsibility for their actions and have apologised to the club for their behaviour.”
The two charged with wilful and obscene conduct will appear in court on October 24, police said.
Known as “Mad Monday”, the annual parties for NRL teams after their last game have earned a reputation for drunken debauchery.
The Bulldogs lived up to that tradition this week with one player stripping naked on the balcony of the Sydney pub in view of the public and another grabbing his genitals as he danced the night away.
NRL chief Todd Greenberg said their behaviour was “embarrassing” and the fine reflected the seriousness of their actions.
“The club organised the event and failed to implement the most basic of measures to ensure it was conducted in an appropriate way,” he said.
The NRL has spent years trying to change the sport’s reputation for bad behaviour after a series of previous scandals.
One of the most infamous recent Mad Mondays involved Sydney Roosters scrum-half Mitchell Pearce, who was caught on camera in 2016 staggering around drunk before launching into an expletive-laden rant about wanting to commit a sex act on a dog.
He was suspended for eight games and fined Aus$125,000.
That incident came two years after Cronulla Sharks star Todd Carney was photographed in the bathroom of a nightclub engaging in a vulgar act while standing at a urinal.
He was sacked for his antics.