Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The Australian Rugby League will refund $6,500 in lost monies to players from the Kangaroo tour but has been able to establish no evidence linking any person to the disappearance of the funds.
A full report by team management has found that several players lost money during the tour with the overall amount unaccounted for totaling $2,700.
The ARL has maintained the need for the investigations to have examined all options, including the touring party as a matter of procedure, but has been bitterly disappointed at speculation linking several players to the disappearance of monies.
"Because of the seriousness of this issue we have conducted a thorough investigation but we have found no evidence linking a player or players to the monies in question," ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said today.
"It is embarrassing for the players who competed on such a successful tour that, while the ARL was obliged to look at all possibilities, others have seized only on the notion that a person or persons from the touring party may have been involved.
"The ARL investigation has shown a range of possibilities that could have led to the disappearances and also that were many individuals outside the touring party who over four weeks in England would have been in the vicinity of the players' hotel.
"At no stage has the ARL made any accusation against any individual and the discussions we have had with players have been to finalise the amounts lost, the time that money may have disappeared and any suspicious individuals they may have been able to recall visiting the camp."
Police assistance was used in the UK when the loss of money was reported to team management but the final report tabled to the ARL today also required discussions with players to establish a complete inventory of missing amounts.
"Thanks to the fact a recently retired Yorkshire Police Inspector and security specialist, Gary Haigh, was attached to the team in the UK we were able to undertake sophisticated investigations in England," Mr Carr said.
"We know that Gary also consulted serving police officers and worked with hotel security who could not have been more helpful in assisting the investigations.
"The monies were lost over a period in England only and given that the players themselves cannot pinpoint exact days, dates and amounts, it is impossible to establish for certain, on the evidence that we have, if we are talking about one individual here or a series of unrelated smaller incidents.
"The matter is not one that can be taken up by Australian Police, given the time and location of the disappearances and given the fact that the UK investigations themselves were not able to provide information.
"We owed it to the players and the fans however to try and establish all we could on the issue and that's why we have sought a full report from the team management.
"The ARL has done that but as with many such matters of this type in the community it is not always possible to solve such an issue.
"We can say though that we have found no evidence whatsoever linking a player to the matter and in the interests of all the players concerned people should respect that fact.
"The fact that the monies disappeared in one country only and not at any other time on the tour also supports that notion.
"The matter has been pursued as far as we believe is possible."