With the world at their feet, controversy seems to follow some rugby league stars around like a bad smell.
Over the years, a number of indiscretions have put certain players in the news over their behaviour.
But, just who can be classed as the current most controversial players in the NRL?
Lodge was arrested in 2015 for a drunken, violent rampage in New York and though he escaped jail time, he was ordered to pay $1.6 million to the victims. It was quite shocking, therefore, to see the NRL welcome him back with open arms after the indiscretion.
Throughout his NRL career Andrew Fifita has stunned fans with his behaviour both on and off the field. The rampaging forward launched a verbal attack on journalist Phil Rothfield in the same week he was believed to have sworn at his coaching staff after scoring a try back in 2018. Other incidents Fifita has been involved in include verbally abusing a junior referee and supporting a one punch killer.
Currently contracted to Manly, Moses Suli was sacked by both the Tigers and the Bulldogs before the start of the 2018 season. Suli’s attitude towards training saw both clubs part way with the talented young player and many believed he had squandered his chance to play in the NRL. Credit to Suli though, he seems to have turned things around.
The breakthrough star had an incredible 2020 season with Penrith only to ruin that by testing positive for cocaine following last year’s grand final. He was provisionally suspended on December 1 and served a backdated one month ban, as per the updated World Anti-Doping Agency code, allowing him to return to training on January 1. Naden undertook a rehabilitation program to qualify for a reduced ban, but was handed a suspended $20,000 fine and an official warning from the Panthers, while the NRL fined him $5,000 for breaking the player bubble to obtain the drugs.
The NRL star’s wedding to pilates instructor Kristin Scott was called off just days before they were set to tie the knot in Byron Bay on December 29 2020, and the couple have not been spotted publicly together since. That was after the Newcastle halfback was accused of sending flirtatious text messages to a club staffer and then stripped of the Knights’ captaincy.
Jack De Belin
St George Illawarra Dragon star Jack De Belin and friend Callan Sinclair were tried in November 2020 over the allegations that they raped a woman they had been partying with in December 2018. Both said the sex was consensual and that she agreed to a threesome. But the woman, 19 at the time, said she entered the unit to use the bathroom before De Belin forced himself on her. Following a three-and-a-half week trial and nearly two days of deliberations, the Wollongong district court jury failed to reach a conclusion with the retrial now being heard.
Another Dragon, Corey Norman, has found himself in hot water for his associating with a member of a bikie gang. Additionally, Norman has been caught with illegal substances and has filmed incidents which included drug use and sexual behaviour. These numerous indiscretions have seen Norman face court and serve suspensions from the NRL. Norman was also investigated by the NRL’s integrity unit over a street brawl in Cronulla he claims was provoked by racial abuse at the start of the year.