NRL will go tough on stars for code of conduct breaches

NRL player Richard Fa'aoso arrives at Campbelltown Court in Campbelltown, Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013. Fa'aoso has been charged after an alleged domestic dispute.
NRL player Richard Fa'aoso arrives at Campbelltown Court in Campbelltown, Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013. Fa'aoso has been charged after an alleged domestic dispute. AAP Daniel Munoz

THE NRL has sent a blunt warning to players about the consequences of breaching the game's code of conduct after separate incidents involving Manly's Richie Fa'aoso, Newcastle's Russell Packer and Canterbury's Reni Maitua.

Fa'aoso faced Campbelltown Local Court yesterday on a series of charges related to incidents involving his wife and police on Sunday afternoon.

Also yesterday, Canterbury announced it had stood down Maitua after he was charged with assault following an incident on Monday morning.

The 31-year-old, who is returning to the Bulldogs after co-captaining Parramatta last season, allegedly assaulted a taxi driver.

And Packer attended Newcastle police station yesterday and spoke to detectives about an alleged assault in Sydney early on Saturday morning.

While the Knights recruit was not formally interviewed and no charges have been laid, police investigations are continuing.

The NRL Integrity Unit is investigating all three incidents.

NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle said the league would have no hesitation in taking strong action if players were found to have breached the code.

"We must all accept the need to establish the relevant facts and the Integrity Unit will carry out that task with the cooperation of the clubs," he said. "If breaches are established then we will act accordingly.

"The overwhelming majority of our players are fantastic ambassadors both for the game and the community. It is all the more important, therefore, that we send clear messages in relation to off-field misbehaviour.

" ... fans and players should be in no doubt that there have to be consequences for people who are found to have breached the Code of Conduct."

Newcastle said it was aware of the incident involving Packer and would co-operate with police and the NRL.

The investigation centres around accusations that a 22-year-old Summer Hill man was found unconscious in Martin Place about 1.30am on Saturday, following an alleged fight.

Maitua took to Twitter to apologise.

"I have no excuses for my poor behaviour and will accept any punishment handed to me from the Powers to be. I was charged w common assault for pushing the gentleman's arm, by no means is that acceptable but certainly didn't strike anyone - I am truly sorry to everyone I have let down."

Meanwhile, Richie Fa'aoso apologised outside court after pleading guilty to drink driving. The 29-year-old will contest charges of malicious damage and failing to stop after an alleged domestic row.

"It was a bad decision, I take full responsibility for my actions. I am not a violent person, I would never hurt my wife (or family)," he said. "I just want to apologise to anyone out there that I let down."

Fa'aoso missed the grand final against the Roosters after suffering a fractured C7 vertebra in the semi-final against South Sydney.

Topics:  code of conduct nrl

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