Mad Monday fallout: ‘Bunch of d*ckheads’
POLICE are poring over CCTV footage of the Bulldogs' naked Mad Monday party to decide if charges should be laid as league bosses warned the fallout would financially damage the NRL.
As an official investigation got under way following the end-of-season scenes of drunken excess - which occurred despite a warning to clubs from NRL chief Todd Greenberg - the players copped a barrage of condemnation led by an exasperated NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres.
"What a bunch of d … heads," Mr Ayres said. "No respect for themselves, their club or the fans that pay their salary." It couldn't have been worse timing for Peter Beattie, chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, who was in Perth trying to sell the game to Western Australia.
"We put on a great event yesterday to launch the finals and it is overshadowed by player behaviour in a hotel," Mr Beattie said.
"Todd Greenberg personally warned all club chief executives to ensure there were no Mad Monday incidents in a group call last week.
"So the clubs were in no doubt that they had a responsibility to ensure their players had a good time without doing anything to damage the game.
"This behaviour undermines the ARLC/NRL's hard work in attracting more corporate sponsors, government support and women to the game.
"This means less money for the game and less money for clubs and players."
Police officers were seen entering the Harbour View Hotel at The Rocks during the celebrations and yesterday officers visited the hotel as part of an inquiry into whether liquor licensing laws were breached.
A police spokeswoman said: "Sydney City licensing police have attended the premises to speak with the licensee and make follow up inquiries. While police have received no formal complaints regarding any other matter at the hotel yesterday should further offences be identified action will be taken."
Liquor & Gaming NSW said it was liaising with NSW Police. "Under NSW liquor laws there are serious penalties for allowing intoxication or indecent behaviour at licensed premises," a spokesman said.
In addition the NRL's integrity unit will also investigate the Bulldogs with Mr Greenberg accusing the players of embarrassing rugby league. He has demanded a report from the Bulldogs club "within 24 hours".
"It's embarrassing for the players themselves firstly as individuals, it's embarrassing for their club and it's embarrassing for the game."
Mr Greenberg confirmed he had spoken to clubs before the party about Mad Monday celebrations. "We had a very detailed discussion with all 16 clubs and the eight clubs that weren't playing. So the expectations were very, very clear. And the Bulldogs have let down the game today."
Photographs yesterday taken exclusively by The Daily Telegraph revealed how at the height of the end-of-season celebrations second rower Adam Elliott stripped naked on the hotel balcony and a member of the party grabbed his private parts as he danced to the Neil Diamond hit Sweet Caroline.
After the celebrations wound up late yesterday Elliott was due to go under the knife for pre-planned wrist surgery.
It also emerged that winger Marcelo Montoya should not have been drinking alcohol because he was in injury rehabilitation. And another player still has a reserve grade semi-final to play against Wyong on Sunday.
It was incorrectly reported that young rising star halfback Lachlan Lewis was part of the playing group at the celebrations, however his manager yesterday confirmed he didn't attend.
And as some Bulldogs fans defended the players online, centre Josh Morris responded to the outcry by posting a picture of Prince William from two different angles online (a front-facing image showing him holding up three fingers and a side shot of him appearing to give the finger) with the caption: "Perception vs reality".
In its official statement the Bulldogs said: "In regard to images from the team's get together on Monday, the club accepts that they were unacceptable and a poor reflection on the individuals. The players are aware of their responsibilities and the standards required … and yesterday's behaviour was unacceptable and a bad look for the game.
"The club will now work with all relevant stakeholders to gather information and fully review what took place."
A spokesman for Kia, the club's major sponsor, declined to comment. Management at the Harbour View Hotel also refused to comment.
Prof Catharine Lumby who works with the NRL in wellbeing and education said the players' behaviour was "silly" and "juvenile". But she said they did not damage anyone else but their own dignity.