SYDNEY (Reuters) - Two senior New Zealand rugby league internationals have been stood down by their clubs in Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) after being embroiled in allegations of purchasing and taking an illicit drug.
New Zealand captain Jesse Bromwich and fellow forward Kevin Proctor were stood down by their respective clubs on Sunday after local media reported they had been involved in purchasing and consuming cocaine in Canberra early on Saturday.
The pair had both played in the 34-12 ANZAC test loss to Australia on Friday in Canberra.
ACT Police said a man had been charged for possession and supply of a drug of dependence to two NRL players.
The Melbourne Storm’s Bromwich said in a statement on Sunday he had stood down from the Kiwis’ captaincy because of the incident, while the club said he had been suspended for two games and ordered to undergo counselling and treatment courses.
“I will be stepping down from my leadership roles with Melbourne Storm and the Kiwis, I understand I am a role model to the young players and the poor choices I made do not reflect my personal values,” Bromwich said in a statement.
”I regret making the choice of staying out with my team mates until the early hours of Saturday morning, as well as consuming an excessive amount of alcohol.
“I take full responsibility for the poor choices I made, I am devastated and my actions were out of character.”
Proctor added he had stood down as co-captain of the Gold Coast Titans and from playing until the club’s board made a final decision on his future.
“I obviously had too much to drink before the incident that has caused all the trouble happened much later in the night,” Proctor said in a statement.
“Although I can’t remember exactly what happened, I don’t deny it. I am devastated by the whole thing and can’t apologise enough to my Kiwi team mates, the NRL, the Titans, and all fans of the game.”
Fellow international Shaun Kenny-Dowell, who was not selected for the test, is also under investigation by his Sydney Roosters club for an incident last week after local media reported he had been charged with possession of an illicit drug.
Damian Keogh also stood down as the chairman of the Cronulla Sharks, last year’s champions, over the weekend after he was arrested on Friday when searched by police and allegedly found with a small resealable bag containing white powder.
Cronulla chief executive Lyall Gorman said on Saturday that Keogh was “very distressed and disappointed”.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O'Brien