Rabbitohs Fined Over Pre-Season Incident in Arizona

The National Rugby League has handed the South Sydney Rabbitohs a $20,000 fine over an incident at the Monsoon Chinese Bistro and Sushi Bar in Flagstaff, Arizona, involving John Sutton and Luke Burgess.

Burgess has since signed with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles while Sutton has been stripped of the Rabbitohs captaincy, although it’s unclear if the move was related to this incident.

Burgess became involved in an altercation with a security guard at the venue, which left the guard suffering a bruised head and resulted in the pair being detained by police.Both players were charged with “disorderly conduct, fighting”, a misdemeanour offence, while Burgess was also hit with an assault charge.

The NRL’s Chief Operating Officer, Suzanne Young said the club had complied with the NRL’s Integrity Unit by notifying them, but a failure to follow the matter to it’s conclusion saw the club fined.

According to Ms Young, the club should have notified the Unit that charges against Sutton and Burgess had been dropped following an agreement to pay compensation to the security guard involved in the incident.She also said the club should have been more diligent in ascertaining whether a payment requested by the security officer had been made by Burgess who was an employee of the club.

“I should stress that the Integrity Unit relies on the clubs to provide reliable and accurate information about any incidents involving their players,” Ms Young said.

“If clubs withhold information or fail to disclose the full details they face sanctions – as we have seen in this case.”

Ms Young acknowledged that the initial investigation could have been handled better by the Integrity Unit and said that new systems and processes would be put in place to help clubs fulfil their obligations for incidents – and improve the Integrity Unit’s processes to deal with such issues in the future.

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