The Australian Rugby League dropped the ball over its handling of an investigation into the theft of more than $4,000 of players' money on last year's Great Britain tour, Kangaroo captain and Brisbane fullback Darren Lockyer said this week.
After media reports that money had been stolen from players' hotel rooms on tour, ARL chief executive Geoff Carr confirmed they were investigating the possibility that it could have been taken by one of the Kangaroo players.
But the ARL closed the door on "Roogate" last month after tour management failed to come up with enough evidence to identify the culprit who stole the money over a period of weeks.
Lockyer said he and other senior players believe the ARL should have conducted an "in-house" investigation into the theft and allegations it may have been a player, and only made statements to the media after it had completed its inquiry.
It's understood some of the players, including those who had money stolen, had since contacted a "fingered" player to apologise and express their disappointment that his name had been smeared without proof.
"There was no evidence for them (ARL) to point the finger at anyone," Lockyer said on Tuesday before his first run back with the Broncos since leading Australia to a tense 3-0 test series win over Great Britain.
"The way it got out, the media tarnished someone's reputation and I think it was poorly handled by the ARL.
"I just hope nothing really bad comes from it because it was a situation where no-one could prove it.
"Obviously players were losing money, but there was no indication it was coming from one of the other teammates.
"It should have been kept behind closed doors."