Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has broken his silence over the white powder saga, saying his players were well aware of their actions.
Bellamy, this year’s reigning Dally M coach, says he only found out about the video of his players partying with white powder half an hour before the NRL awards.
Storm trio Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis were sanctioned by the NRL for their actions following the team’s final exit into the hands of Penrith.
Issued with NRL infringement notices this week to bring the game into disrepute
This afternoon with 4BC, Bellamy said it was “very disappointing for the club and the game” and that his players were well aware that they had done the wrong thing.
“When I was their age, we used to go out and have six, eight, ten schooners,” he said.
“But the big difference is having a dozen schooners is not illegal. And that’s what disappoints me so much about the guys earning well, they doing what they love in life, and what they did was illegal.
“And they were very, very well aware of that.
“But like I said, they were still daring there … and it’s done now, but we have to make sure they give them the help and guidance they need to not do it again. And hopefully that will be the case.”
Storm chief Justin Rodski said his players had not admitted to having taken drugs and that the NRL was unable to test them for illegal drugs in the low season.
“The results from the NRL Integrity Unit have not provided evidence of what was in the video,” Rodski said.
“Through excessive alcohol consumption and intoxication, players have limited memory of what happened or did not happen in this hotel room.”
He also defended the ban on one game, saying that “all sanctions and penalties across the NRL and the club were significant and severe”.
The club has put Munster on a 12-month liquor ban, fined him $ 100,000, suspended and removed him from the management team.
Munster has also walked into an alcohol treatment plant for the next four weeks after admitting he has a “difficult relationship” with booze.