Following Gambling Scandal: NRL And AFL Boys, Codes Under Spotlight

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

G'day punters, sports fans, legal eagles, law enforcement officials, player agents, and all. Today Australia's ARL and NRL football codes are back under the spotlight, and its not all good news, but some positives may result from the extra attention. A star NRL player is done for assault, plus the AFL is tipped to ban agents from having a punt, and the AFL sex scandal teen speaks to 60 Minutes. Media Man and Gambling911 with the battle of the codes, on and off the field...

Police To Probe Wests Tigers Benji Marshall On Altercation In Sin City Sydney...

Benji Marshall, Wests Tigers star and the new face of the NRL, is tipped to chat to police following an alleged altercation in the Rocks, Sydney, after a kid's fundraising event.

'Our Benji', the new face of NRL, is thought to have been at the scene of a physical altercation at 3am Saturday morning at The Rocks in 'Sin City' Sydney.

Marshall, 26, had spent the night hosting Children’s Cancer Institute Australia’s (CCIA) first annual Footy Rocks.

Police released a media statement into the public domain confirming an incident involving a 26-year-old male.

Police attached to The Rocks Local Area Command are investigating an alleged assault outside a fast food restaurant in Sydney’s CBD overnight. It's believed it was McDonald's, but the meal (or the chat) was not happy!

About 3.20am Saturday 5 March, a verbal altercation allegedly occurred between a 24-year-old man and a 26-year-old man in George Street, near the intersection with Bridge Street.

The 26-year-old bloke and another bloke allegedly assaulted the 24-year-old before clearing the area.

The 24-year-old sustained a small cut on the face and reported the alleged incident to The Rocks Police Station.

An probe is underway into the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, and police are hoping to speak with a 26-year-old man who may be able to assist with inquiries.

The event comes just three days after Marshall confidently declared he "wants to be the player that kids want to be when they grow up".

This follows a string of negative headlines on both the NRL and AFL. The AFL has copped the most heat lately from betting scandals in addition to the drink-driving charge against reigning Dally M medallist Todd Carney.

It was 2 years back when Manly's Brett Stewart was a key figure in the NRL's marketing campaign before he caused the game's flagship television commercial to be re-edited when he was banned after an alcohol-fuelled evening and charged with sexual assault ahead of the 2009 season. Stewart was eventually cleared of the charge, but the damage was done.

Marshall had been doing his best to avoid negative off field experiences. In fact, he was the chosen one to launch the 2011 season in the NRL's heartland of western Sydney.

"After the past couple of years it was sort of a curse they reckon. It's not going to change what I do away from the game or what I do in the game. I want to be the player that kids want to be when they grow up. I've had a pretty clean image and I want to keep it that way. I'm pretty wary of where I am and what I do to make sure I keep the same image because I know image goes a long way in life and at the end of my career I want to still have that image."

Wests Tigers have already undertaken to make a full report to the NRL.

"It is always important that the club is given the opportunity to examine the facts and report to the NRL before we determine whether there is a need for intervention on our part,” NRL Chief Executive David Gallop said.

"This will also no doubt depend on some of the issues being investigated by police. Clearly it is in everyone’s interests to determine the matter as soon as possible."

AFL To Ban Player Agents From Having A Punt?...

The AFL has ruled out banning accredited media from gambling on games, but it is in continuing discussions on whether player agents should be allowed to bet on the game.

But it is in continuing discussions on whether player agents should be allowed to bet on the sport.

AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said that as a result of the NRL betting scandal that saw Canterbury prop Ryan Tandy, player manager Sam Ayoub and former player John Elias charged by NSW police last week, the AFL was considering adding agents to the list of people who are banned from betting on matches.

"We are talking to the Players' Association accreditation board about that," Anderson said.

While it has been suggested that the AFL, which punished several league and club officials for minor breaches last year, would also include accredited media in the ban, Anderson denied that was the case.

AFL St Kilda Teenager Lied She Was Pregnant; Network Nine's 60 Minutes Runs Story...

The young lady at the centre of the St Kilda nude photo scandal has admitted she lied about being pregnant to AFL footballer Sam Gilbert.

She told 60 Minutes last night: "I was a stupid immature little teenager … (But) I don't think I owe anyone an apology other than Sam."

The scandal involving the girl, 17, has swallowed AFL player manager Ricky Nixon, who is under investigation by the AFL Players Association for his alleged sexual involvement with the teenager.

Nixon returned to Melbourne last night following a two-week trip to Ireland and Britain and vehemently denied television news reports that he was planning to stand down from his role this week, saying he would be at his Flying Start office today.

He also unequivocally rejected suggestions that he was scheduled to check into a clinic to help resolve his personal issues.

Channel Nine news had reported that he would stand down as a player manager and check into a clinic by the end of the week. "The reports (on the Nine Network) are not true," Nixon told Fairfax Media. "Apparently I'm running for prime minister as well."

The teen showed Channel Nine text messages and emails from Nixon in which he told her what she should say to the press if she wanted their relationship to continue, warning that if she didn't 100 of his associates would want revenge on her for the rest of her life.

He told her she should tell the media: "I want to put on the record that there was no sex and no drug-taking."

The network named the schoolgirl and showed her image on 60 Minutes last night.

A media lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, said last night the action appeared to contravene a court suppression order.

Nine executive producer Hamish Thomson said: "Nine denies that it contravened any laws."

Fairfax's Sunday Age yesterday reported claims that more than 80 Victoria Police officers had looked at the girl's case file on the LEAP database.

The Office of Police Integrity confirmed there was an investigation into alleged inappropriate use of the database.

"We are hopeful that the spotlight on the games, players, agents and officials may have the effect of cleaning up the sport", a Media Man staffer said.

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*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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