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3 July 2002 Media Release Dragons disappointed by NRL's response
St George Illawarra Dragons' Chief Executive Officer, Peter Doust, expressed disappointment with the NRL's response to their honesty and sincerity in reporting the bet made by players on the Auckland game.
The facts are:
1. At some stage prior to the game, the players decided to each contribute $20 to a pool and then wager that pool sum on the team to win the game.
2. The players considered that their chances of winning the game had been written-off by the experts and the decision to place the bet was viewed as a motivational tool in the lead-up to the game.
3. The amount paid-out on the win was approximately $2,100.
4. The players indicated in general terms that they were aware that gambling on matches was prohibited under their player contract and under the NRL Code of Conduct. However, they considered that the wager on the Warriors game was not of great significance because:
(a) the amount gambled by each player was minimal;
(b) the amounts were pooled and regarded as part of the motivational lead-up to a game where the team's chances had been dismissed by most "experts"; and
(c) they were betting on themselves to win.
The extent of the fine is certainly more than we expected.
Notwithstanding, however, we do understand the NRL's position and that the fine is as much about deterrence as it is about punishment.
We acknowledge the zero tolerance principle and its relevance to the game.
In the circumstances, the Dragons look forward to the NRL applying the fine to education and counselling on gambling within sport.