The three players at the centre of Melbourne's white powder storm have received their punishments following the conclusion of the NRL's Integrity Unit's investigation.

Chris Lewis, Brandon Smith, and Cameron Munster will all miss the Storm's opening game of the 2022 season, with the trifecta also set to see their hip pockets hit.

According to an official media release from the club, the sanctions read as follows:

  • Chris Lewis - official breach notice, $4,000 fine, one NRL match suspension
  • Brandon Smith - official breach notice, $15,000 fine, one NRL match suspension
  • Cameron Munster – official breach notice, $30,000 fine, one NRL match suspension

In addition to these punishments, the Victorian franchise has also handed down their own intramural suspensions to the trifecta that were filmed in the vicinity of a white substance following the Storm's preliminary final loss to Penrith.

For Lewis, another fine of $10,000 has been issued and the 29-year-old will be asked to participate with the creation of educational programs for the game's next generation.

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The New South Welshman will also be forced to adhere to 'additional behavioral conditions as part of a disciplinary action agreement'.

In regards to Smith, a further financial sanction of $50,000 sits over his head and the Kiwi international has been stood down from the club's 'Emerging Leadership Group'.

For the misbehaving Munster, an eyewatering $100,000 punishment looms and the Queenslander has also been asked to enter a month-long rehabilitation program.

Munster will also be asked to abstain from consuming alcohol for the entirety of next year and has been sacked from the club's leadership group.

RELATED: Munster set for leadership strip, future on rocks

Speaking after being told to stay away from the bottle, the Maroons and Kangaroos representative claimed he was taking a course of action to correct past and present ills.

“I’ve had a difficult relationship with alcohol in the past,” he was quoted by The Daily Telegraph.

“I thought I’d dealt with this issue but I clearly still have some hurdles to overcome.

“I want you to all know I am working on that. Starting tomorrow, I will be attending a treatment facility for the next four weeks.

“I’ve let a lot of people down and will do whatever it takes to restore your faith in me. Hopefully you will see by my actions I am dedicated to change.

“I am so sorry.”

Despite his remorse, should these demands for sobriety not be met, Munster is likely to be forced out of the club he has called home since 2014.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 03: Cameron Munster of the Storm looks dejected after a Sharks try during the round eight NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at Shark Park on May 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Thankfully for the players in question, each of these club imposed fines are of a suspended nature.

However, with the purple powerbrokers proving they are unwilling to put up with misconduct if the three names in question fall foul of protocols again, they, and their financial advisors, are sure to be ruing their actions.

Lewis, Smith, and Munster will also be required to deliver apologies to the club's staff, members, and each of the more than 200 names that have previously had the honour of pulling on a bolt-throwers jersey.

Each will also be required to work with community-based programs that aid, rather than hinder, the league's image.

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Within the aforementioned statement, Storm CEO Justin Rodski offered an un-minced appraisal on the current lay of the land.

"This has been an incredibly challenging and disappointing period for everyone involved in our club," Rodski said.

"The decisions of these three players have hurt a lot of people and the players have broken the trust of the club and the game."

Rodski also suggested that the banned group were aware of their misbehaviour, before offering a warning to those already on notice.

"The players are genuinely remorseful for what has happened," he continued.

"They have made a significant error in judgement, and they are here today to own their decisions and take responsibility for their actions.

"The players know they are on notice, they all have significant fines hanging over their head, and face significant consequences for any future indiscretion, no matter how big or small."

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While stern, Rodski was also willing to throw his arm around the embattled group.

"They are hurting and have already suffered significant embarrassment and shame over the last week. But importantly, they are not hiding from the issue and have committed to taking necessary steps to address their behaviour and mental health to ensure they make better decisions in the future and can influence others to also make better choices in life," he said.

The club boss signed off by explaining that although the punishments befit the crime, the Storm's culture continued to be based around helping rather than harming those with problems.


"As a club, we are committed to holding our players accountable for their actions, but we will also provide them with the right support they need to correct their behaviour," Rodski said.

"Ultimately, we have a duty of care to our players and want to see them contributing in a meaningful way to the game, the club and the community, both on and off the field."

Despite the bespectacled powerbroker's strong stance, reports have arisen on Monday afternoon that each of Lewis, Smith, and Munster have maintained that they were unaware of what the white substance in question was.

According to Channel 10 sports reporter Jelisa Apps, the trio all maintained their vague stance - a complete 180 from the open and honest actions of recently banned Warrior Reece Walsh.

RELATED: Walsh handed ban, hip pocket hit too

Apps also claimed that none of the Melbourne players in question had been drug tested, as the league currently lacks the ability to do so to athletes out-of-season.

It is not yet known who Melbourne's opponents will be when Lewis, Smith and Munster take their place in the stands for Round 1, 2022, but recent reports suggest that next season's draw will be completed and announced by the end of this month.

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. What a Crock!
    1 week???
    They’re role models and this is a serious illegal substance. Should have been a minimum of 6 weeks.
    I understand the monetary fine which is adequate, but they should have been suspended for a lot longer…

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