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22 hours ago
NRL chief executive David Gallop has applauded Parramatta's decision to stand down three players as a meeting of club bosses rejected moves for a blanket approach to curbing player behaviour.
Jarryd Hayne, Weller Hauraki and Junior Paulo were all barred from playing in the Eels' season opener against the Bulldogs on Saturday week, the ban a result of their boozy escapades in Kings Cross early Monday morning.
It was a move which received widespread approval from club chief executives, who met in Sydney on Thursday to discuss a range of issues.
Gallop said he was hopeful that denying players the opportunity to do what they love doing would help get the message across.
"There was a general agreement that taking players out of games was an effective way of trying to combat these issues," Gallop said.
But as far as the NRL stepping in, Gallop said club bosses were all of the opinion that the clubs themselves were in the best position to discipline players.
"It was unanimously agreed that the clubs handling these matters was the best approach," Gallop said.
"If the matter was serious enough, certainly those powers are there (for the NRL to act).
"At this stage the clubs are dealing with those issues."
While Hayne, Hauraki and Paulo were also fined $2000 each for their involvement in an altercation that ended with them being the target of a gunman, Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald said monetary fines were no longer the answer.
"You can fine players all sorts of amounts but that doesn't necessarily affect their lifestyle or their thinking from week to week," Fitzgerald said.
"Standing them down with the threat that there will be further stand downs should there be any further problems, that's the thing that will play on their mind at 10 or 11 o'clock at night or midnight when they're deciding to kick on somewhere or go home.
"Obviously we are hoping and expecting that this disciplinary action will be enough for them to say it's time to go home."
The move is not without precedent at the Eels, with the club having suspended halfback Tim Smith last year due to alcohol-related indiscretions.
Smith was also dropped to Premier League in 2006 after turning up to training intoxicated.
While the leadership group headed by skipper Nathan Cayless and Test backrower Nathan Hindmarsh gave the bans their tick of approval, Fitzgerald said it was coach Michael Hagan who pushed for the trio to be stood down.
"Michael Hagan was very strong in regard to that situation," Fitzgerald said.
"As far as standing players down it becomes a coaches prerogative to do that.
"I think it showed good leadership and strength from Michael Hagan which I never doubted ... I was really pleased with the attitude that he's adopted, along with the senior players with Nathan Cayless and Nathan Hindmarsh in particular.
"They want to be with a club that's firstly successful but also with players and teammates that they can be proud of and happy to go out with."
Fitzgerald confirmed he would be confronting his players to discuss the possibility of a club ban on frequenting troublesome nightspots.
In other news to come out of Thursday's chief executives conference, the NRL has decided to form a taskforce in a bid to further strengthen the game at the grass roots level in Sydney's west.
The NRL revealed that participation numbers in western Sydney were on the increase, with the move aimed at warding off a potential challenge from the AFL.
The AFL has indicated plans to bring in a team playing out of ANZ Stadium within the next five years.