AAP Rugby

Bennett fined $20,000 for bubble breach

By AAP Newswire

Wayne Bennett's Italian lunch date will cost him $20,000 to go with his two weeks away from his players after the NRL came down on South Sydney's master coach.

The NRL confirmed Bennett would cop the biggest fine of all biosecurity offenders in the past week, with Paul Vaughan hit with a $10,000 sanction for his morning cafe visit.

Brisbane legend and assistant Allan Langer became the latest to be caught transgressing the rules on Friday, and has been fined $5000 by the NRL.

Langer, Broncos strength and conditioning coach Ryan Whitley and head of rehab Blake Duncan were sidelined on Friday and stopped from flying with the team to Sydney.

"Strict adherence to our biosecurity protocols are vitally important," Abdo said.

"Players or officials who breach these protocols face missing matches and significant fines.

"It is important everyone within club bubbles follows the protocols, not only so the season continues, but to ensure no risk to the general community."

It came as Canberra coach Ricky Stuart insisted there could be no confusion over the NRL's biosecurity laws, accepting the whole game's future is at stake.

Bennett suggested on Thursday he couldn't keep up with the NRL's rules after players were forced back into a tighter bubble last month.

But Stuart said both he and the players were well aware and often reminded of their obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Everyone understands the rules and everybody is consistently made aware of it," Stuart said.

"I would love to go to the pub and have a beer with my mates. I would love to go to lunch or have dinner with the family.

"But we can't. They are just tough times at the moment. But under tough times you find out the true character of people.

"It's a multi-million dollar business at stake here. We've got to be mindful of that."

Stuart did not reference Bennett directly, but it comes after ARLC chairman Peter V'landys warned offenders they were putting generations of NRL players at risk financially.

"Sometimes mistakes are made. We all know what we need to do. I don't want to touch on (Bennett's restaurant visit)," Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire said.

"He's achieved a lot in the game ... Sometimes you might make a little bit of a mistake. Everyone is aware of where we are at the moment.

"It's a good message for all of us and a little reminder."

Meanwhile Langer and his Broncos colleagues issue come after attending a private function in Brisbane last weekend.

AAP understands the function was held last weekend in a private room at a Brisbane pub to celebrate Langer's recent 54th birthday.

After being made aware of the fact, the Broncos told the NRL who advised the trio should undergo testing.

"As a precaution, those staff have been placed on "COVID Holds" and will undergo testing before returning to the Project Apollo bubble," the Broncos said in a statement.

Queensland-based players and officials can go to cafes and restaurants after more than 14 days since their last game against Sydney-based teams, but pubs are still prohibited.