South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett could potentially face a fine from the NRL Integrity Unit after he failed to report the street fight involving Cody Walker late last year, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Bennett was interviewed by the Integrity Unit on Tuesday after The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on Monday night where Bennet told them his was aware of the Walker incident.
Bennett had argued his knowledge of the incident was “immaterial” and because no one had made a compliant to the club or police about the matter, there was no reason for him to tell the integrity unit.
Bennett’s views differ to that of League Central, who believe any involvement in a street fight is serious enough to be reported.
There is an expectation within the NRL where any incident involving a player that could bring the game into dispute needs to be reported, even though there is no set policy for what clubs must tell the NRL about off-field misbehaviour.
Once something gets reported, the integrity unit can investigate and work out whether any further action is necessary.
Walker has been cleared by NSW Police for the December 1st incident on Wednesday afternoon after an investigation into the fight. The Souths star could possibly be suspended by the NRL.
The NRL could potentially fine the Souths Sydney Rabbitohs, repeating a similar action they took in 2015 after the club was deemed to not have properly investigated the Arizona pre-season scandal. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Bennett was the only member of the Rabbitohs officials who knew about the incident involving Walker.
On Wednesday, Rabbitohs teammate Dane Gagai revealed that Walker have informed them about the incident and investigation.
“He let us know what was going on and we as a team, we’re going to support every single one of our players,” Gagai told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He just reassured us that it wasn’t gonna distract him from his main goal and that’s to be here with us boys and try to win a premiership. The way he’s be shining and the way we’ve all been training, there is no that that’s been a distraction.”
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys remained tight lipped when asked about Bennett’s investigation on Wednesday.
“Every party in these situations deserves due process and natural justice,” V’landy told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I’m arms length from the investigation, as I should be. The investigation should occur indipendently and without fear or favour, and that’s exactly what is happening.”