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National Rugby League CEO David Gallop urged rugby league fans to "keep the faith" despite the latest player behaviour scandal which has rocked the game.
"I can understand people questioning matters," Gallop said after the Newcastle Knights sacked one player and fined 12 for discipline breaches following a trial game in Bathurst on Saturday night.
"Keep your faith. We are going to have a fantastic rugby league season," Gallop told radio station 2GB.
"There's a lot to look forward to, even in Newcastle.
"They've got the best player in the world (Andrew Johns) about to come back on the paddock and a new stadium.
"I'm sure Knights fans are looking forward to that.
"We've got to put this behind us, accept the penalties that have been put in place and look forward to the new season."
Gallop praised the Newcastle club for its swift action.
"They went through a rigorous process yesterday. They were careful to do things procedurally correctly.
"The important thing now is that penalties are accepted and everyone gets on with looking forward to the season."
Gallop said the NRL would continue to appraise its player education program to try to prevent further disciplinary breaches.
"Our approach has got to be twofold. It's got to be to keep our foot on the pedal in education and to penalise those who don't want to be part of what we want to achieve.
"We've been doing a lot of work on these areas and I'm really comfortable that a majority of people are on board with what we're trying to do with our game.
"If a minority aren't then there are penalties in place and those penalties were handed out yesterday." _______________________________________ NRL Acts Quickly
The National Rugby League has today fined the Newcastle Club $100,000 over the misconduct of players following a trial match in Bathurst on Saturday night.
A further $100,000 penalty is suspended provided the club incurs no similar misconduct breaches over the next two seasons.
The NRL notes that the club has acted to terminate the contract of one player and that it has fined a number of others. It also notes the apology made by the players from the club.
?Given the information we have been presented with, it would be our intention to refuse to register a contract with that player once we receive formal notification from the Knights,? NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.
?Such a decision would prevent him playing for any NRL team.
?Certainly we would not re-register the player without a compelling reason and it is unlikely we could foresee that occurring within the next 12 months.
?We have put in place both education measures and clear rules for players to abide by.
?It is primarily up to clubs to ensure their players observe those rules or face the consequences.
?There has been too much progress made in the last 12 months to tolerate this type of misconduct.
?The behavior of any individual in this game affects the reputation of all players.
?Behavior such as we have seen in Bathurst affects innocent people, and they should not be expected to suffer it in any circumstance.
?I respect the seriousness with which the Newcastle club has treated the issue since it came to their attention, and the NRL accepts that the club had put guidelines in place before the trial.
?However, the fact is that they have failed to adequately supervise their players and enforce their rules, and that is a responsibility that the club must accept.?
The NRL reserves the rights to further visit these issues should more misconduct be proven. ______________ Newcastle rookie Dane Tilse was effectively expelled from rugby league last night following a drunken rampage by Knights players through a Bathurst university dorm.
NRL officials said they would deregister for at least 12 months the player who was sacked by Knights directors during a meeting late last night.
Earlier, 12 Newcastle players, including Tilse, were fined a total of $50,000 by the club for breaching curfew and visiting Charles Sturt University dormitories after a pre-season game against Penrith.
The NRL responded by fining the Knights $100,000 and imposing a $100,000 suspended penalty.
Deregistration applies to all rugby league competitions worldwide.