Canterbury Bulldogs duo Corey Harawira-Naera and Jayden Okunbor have had their contracts deregistered by the NRL over off-field incidents involving high schoolgirls.
Harawira-Naera and Okunbor were issued show-cause notices last month after the Bulldogs reported concern over alleged sexual misconduct involving high school girls during the club’s pre-season trip in Port Macquarie.
Neither Harawira-Naera or Okunbor were the subject of any police investigation.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said: “The behaviour of both players was inexcusable and a very serious breach of the code of conduct.
“The game will not tolerate such conduct and as such both players have had their registrations cancelled.
“This decision should send a very clear message to all players of our stance on such behaviour.”
Bulldogs chair Lynn Anderson, chief executive Andrew Hill and coach Dean Pay say they support the NRL’s decision to scrap their contracts.
A club statement read: “An important part of the role of being a professional rugby league player is to promote the game and act as an ambassador for your club and the code.
“There can be no tolerance for any abuse of the privileged status the game affords its leading players.
“The consequences of this matter have been serious and far-reaching and protecting the welfare of the young women involved has been a priority for us since we were first alerted to this issue.
“They have, unfortunately, been the victims of some distasteful social media attacks which are not called for and need to stop. We have been in regular contact with them, their families and their school and we will continue to offer ongoing support moving forward.”
The families of the girls involved will continue to receive support from the Bulldogs and NRL, while Harawira-Naera and Okunbor have been offered welfare support by the Bulldogs and NRL, as well as the Rugby League Players Association.
Watch NRL and live stream every NRL game to keep up with how Tom Burgess, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead, James Graham, George Williams and all the others are getting on Down Under.
Watch our Last Tackle podcast, featuring a guest, every week. SUBSCRIBE to Love Rugby League on YouTube.