Former St George Illawarra Dragons five-eighth and Australian boxing legend Anthony Mundine has told The Daily Telegraph that he implores the players sacked, fined and sanctioned for Covid breaches to take legal action and against the NRL and their club.
This tirade is the latest in Mundine's efforts to challenge the government's restrictions surrounding COVID-19.
The incident that sparked this was the recent house party at now-former Dragon prop Paul Vaughan's home on Saturday. Mundine's displeasure stemmed from the fines, suspensions and sackings dispersed among the 13 players that were in attendance, all of them breaking the current COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown laws.
In relation to this event, Mundine told The Daily Telegraph that the players "did nothing wrong"
“The players should fight this shit in court and beat it. They should take legal action and get onto the right lawyers. If I was backed into a corner I would fight it," he said.
“These boys are being hard done by for no reason. Those rules (that the players broke) shouldn’t be there.
“I’m not being a smart arse or a dickhead. They are using COVID to take people’s freedom away, bro. It’s wrong and sad. They are taking away their rights.
“The players are living their lives and they can’t do it because of this so-called virus. It’s ridiculous. This is getting out of hand. I don’t have a problem with (what the players did). People need to start standing up.
“If it wasn’t for (Covid restrictions) then these players wouldn’t be in this position – Vaughan wouldn’t be sacked. This could end him.
“(Celebrating a win), that’s what we do. As football players, I don’t drink, but that is part of the Australian culture. Getting together after a win, they didn’t do anything wrong. This is now affecting one of our beloved games – rugby league.
“People die – heart attacks, car accidents, whatever it may be. We are all guaranteed one thing in life and that’s death. We all have to face that.”
The 12 current Dragons players that were handed suspensions will all face time on the sidles as well as being hit with fines.
Daniel Alvaro, Gerard Beale Jack Bird, Jack De Belin, Matt Dufty, Kaide Ellis, Tyrell Fuimaono, Josh Kerr, Blake Lawrie, Zac Lomax, Josh McGuire and Corey Norman will have their bans spread across the next two to four matches.
Mundine played 116 matches across multiple stints with the St George Dragons and St George Illawarra Dragons in his NRL career that spanned between 1993-2000.
No formal report has been made about any of the players involved taking potential legal action.