Rugby League

Mitchell Pearce set to undergo counselling as teammates dragged into scandal

Sydney Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce is expected to undergo counselling as well as punishment for his drunken behaviour on Australia Day, while new recruits Jayden Nikorima and Dale Copley may face sanctions after the trio partied on when given Cabcharges to go home by a club official following a harbour cruise with teammates.

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Mitchell Pearce's career should be over: NRL advisor

Professor Catharine Lumby has worked with the NRL on gender issues for over a decade and says Mitchell Pearce must be stood down. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.

The Roosters players had gone to the Royal Oak Hotel in Double Bay after the harbour cruise and were issued with the Cabcharges to get home, but Fairfax Media was told that Pearce then joined Nikorima and Copley and went to a party at the house of a woman they had met earlier. They were there for two hours before the Roosters captain was asked to leave after making an advance towards her and simulating sex with a dog.

The episode was filmed on a mobile phone by a man who can be heard questioning a heavily intoxicated Pearce about subjects such as race, teammates and his sexual preferences. The footage has since been sold to media outlets, including Fairfax Media.

Damning: A still from the video showing a seemingly intoxicated Mitchell Pearce slumped in a chair
Damning: A still from the video showing a seemingly intoxicated Mitchell Pearce slumped in a chair Photo: Courtesy of Diimex.com

Roosters officials and the NRL integrity unit are investigating the incident but Pearce is not expected to be sacked if he agrees to address alcohol problems that have plagued the 26-year-old's career.

He will almost certainly lose the Roosters captaincy, cop a $50,000 fine and suspension.

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While there has been speculation that Pearce would be suspended for six matches and miss the club's upcoming trip to the World Club Series and training camp in Dubai, Fairfax Media understands no decision has been made – although NRL officials are said to be leaning towards tougher action after comments by Professor Catharine Lumby, an advisor to the game on gender issues, that he should be sacked.

"He should be stood aside, this should be the end of his career," Lumby told ABC Radio. "He is a high-profile athlete, it sends the wrong message and the NRL has to continue to show leadership on this issue."

Out with Mitchell Pearce: Jayden Nikorima, pictured here in action for the Brisbane Broncos.
Out with Mitchell Pearce: Jayden Nikorima, pictured here in action for the Brisbane Broncos. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Despite his popularity among teammates, Pearce's own leadership position is untenable after setting a poor example for the Roosters' newest recruits, Nikorima and Copley, who have joined the club from Brisbane.

Nikorima and Copley have been questioned by Roosters officials and may face sanctions if it is found they have breached any club policy.

Dale Copley: The former Brisbane Bronco went to a party with Mitchell Pearce.
Dale Copley: The former Brisbane Bronco went to a party with Mitchell Pearce. Photo: Getty Images

There are no signs of inappropriate behaviour by either of the pair in the video, with Copley sitting on a seat and Nikorima heard calling out to Pearce.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson said Pearce had apologised to him for the incident, which he described as "unacceptable".

Party time: A photo from Mitchell Pearce 's Instagram account showing the Roosters players during their Australia Day ...
Party time: A photo from Mitchell Pearce 's Instagram account showing the Roosters players during their Australia Day festivities. Photo: Instagram

"After the incident on Wednesday night, we, the Sydney Roosters, found that Mitchell's behaviour was unacceptable and that's why he's been stood down up until this matter is resolved," Robinson said.

"We've discussed it with players and we're going through discussions with the NRL so that's the next course of action. I can't really comment on anything else until that's resolved with the NRL."

ARL Commission Chairman John Grant said the NRL Integrity Unit were awaiting a report from the Roosters.

"Well you learn in this game to wait and see," Grant said. "We'll continue to do that and see what the Roosters do next." 

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