Damning photos of NRL star emerge
Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary is in hot water after photos emerged showing the young gun breaking social distancing restrictions.
A day after Melbourne winger Josh Addo-Carr and Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell apologised for ignoring social distancing rules, NSW State of Origin playmaker Cleary has been caught in a storm of his own.
Channel 9 reported friends visited Cleary's house on Anzac Day, where the 22-year-old was photographed with at least five females.
It is forbidden in NSW to gather in groups of more than two people you don't live with. Cleary and the women in the photos were not staying 1.5m away from each other as required, either.
Under NSW guidelines, people can only leave their house for work, essential shopping, exercise, medical appointments and compassionate visits.
Nine rugby league reporter Danny Weidler said: "He (Cleary) has explained to me that they are some of his friends. They popped into his place on Anzac Day on their way to getting an Uber.
"He realised pretty quickly that this was not a situation that he should be in and after a short stay they left.
"He is very, very apologetic about what has happened. He knows he has done the wrong thing and he takes full responsibility for all of that.
"Nathan Cleary has apologised already to his teammates and the entire Penrith club."
The Daily Telegraph reports the females are friends of Cleary's sister and in a statement the Panthers said they reported the incident to head office and "the matter is now in the hands of the NRL".
This development is just what the NRL doesn't need after a dramatic start to the week in which Addo-Carr and Mitchell were fined $1000 by NSW Police for breaking social-distancing laws as investigations began into an alleged firearms breach.
Mitchell and Addo-Carr both apologised for a weekend gathering at a property near Taree, with Mitchell admitting the Kangaroos stars had "slipped up". The NRL's integrity unit will also continue its investigations, as police revealed Addo-Carr had also previously been warned for breaking the Public Health Act.
Photos posted by Addo-Carr showed the pair with 10 other men around a fire, prompting the NRL to label the pictures as "disappointing" and "unacceptable". He was also seen shooting a gun and riding a dirt bike without a helmet, while NRL-contracted Newcastle fringe player Tyronne Roberts-Davis is seen in one of the photos.
All NRL players agreed to health and safety protocols when the competition was stopped for the shutdown.
Such behaviour from the footy trio will no doubt anger the NRL, which is attempting to convince the government it can safely resume its season on May 28, ahead of other major codes.
Proposed NRL biosecurity rules for the season resumption will make players stay home, with no visitors allowed, except when training, playing, making visits to the doctor and doing essential food shopping.
The NRL has threatened teams with the loss of points and heavy fines if any player breaks the rules, and say they will further educate players before next week's planned resumption of training.
Originally published as Damning photos of NRL star emerge