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St George-Illawarra Dragons star Mark Gasnier has been dumped from the New South Wales State of Origin squad, it was confirmed this afternoon.
Gasnier, who earlier this year wasn?t sure if he even wanted to play rugby league, was a shock selection in the Blues side for next Wednesday?s first Origin game at Stadium Australia.
Gasnier was the player who left a lude voice message on the phone of a 27-year-old woman in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was on his way to Star City Casino at Pyrmont with a number of other players at the time.
Team-mate Anthony Minichiello?s phone was used to make the call, but the Roosters star had denied he left the voice message, claiming his phone had either been lost or stolen.
ARL Chief Executive Geoff Carr this morning stood by the Blues side but he was forced to back down from that stance this afternoon when it became clear that a player did indeed make the call.
?The phone was subsequently lost but our understanding is it wasn?t lost at the time of the call,? Mr Carr said.
?We received a clear copy of the message and we were able to identify Mark Gasnier?s voice.
?Team management met, we called Mark in and Mark agreed that it was his voice on the message.?
Mr Carr said the ARL relied on players to show some common sense and said he will review all procedures as far as team bonding is concerned. ?I am not sure how far we have to go,? he said.
Mr Carr said a replacement player would be named in due course.