Munster to enter rehab as NRL issue fines and bans to Storm party trio

“As some of you may know, I’ve had a difficult relationship with alcohol in the past, I thought I had dealt with this issue, but clearly I still have some hurdles to overcome.

“Earlier this week I made the decision, after consulting the club doctor, to seek help with this battle.

“Starting tomorrow I’ll attend a treatment facility for the next four weeks. I know I’ve let a lot of people down and I’ll do what it takes to restore the faith in me.

“I want all kids out there to know my behaviour was not OK.”

The NRL said the proposed fines took into account the “varying salaries of each individual” and the fact their actions had brought the game into disrepute.

Munster’s rehabilitation will take place in Queensland. Smith is also weighing up seeking treatment for his mental health.

Social media went into meltdown with many wondering how the Storm trio escaped with a one-match ban and Walsh, a first-year player, received two games. Some were still asking how Paul Vaughan could receive eight games and have his St George Illawarra contract torn up.

Rodski said the penalties for his players were anything but soft.

“If you take a look at the totality of the sanctions and penalties handed down across the NRL and club they are significant and serious,” Rodski said.

“The difference between one game or two games, that to me is not the important point here. The club and NRL have imposed significant sanctions on the players and the penalties reflect the seriousness of the issue.”

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said: “I understand that players have endured a long season under strict protocols, however there is no excuse for the behaviour we have seen over the past week.

“The players have let themselves, their clubs and the rugby league community down.

“These sanctions are designed to include an element of rehabilitation and development as well as having consequences for the individual and team.”

Walsh apologised for his actions less than 24 hours after being charged by police in Surfers Paradise.

Munster was fined $30,000, Smith $15,000 and Lewis $4000 with the three players to all miss the Storm’s opening match next season. The Storm added a suspended $50,000 and $10,000 fine for Smith and Lewis respectively.

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Video footage of Munster and Smith partying in a hotel room with what appeared to be a white substance surfaced just hours before last Monday’s Dally M awards.

There was talk of the players skipping the awards night, but the NRL informed Melbourne one of the players was in line to win a positional award, and it would have been a worse look if their name was read out and the stage left empty.

Storm chairman Matt Tripp wanted to handle the situation quickly like the Warriors did with Walsh.

“We never wanted this to fester, it’s against the Melbourne Storm’s wishes and we would have had this nipped in the bud 24 hours after we became aware of it,” Tripp told the Herald last week.

“There is zero tolerance at the club, we strive to be better than most, and we need to fix that.”

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