St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier has been fined $50,000 by the Dragons Board at a meeting yesterday as a disciplinary measure for bringing the Club and the game of rugby league into disrepute last week.
As a further specific condition of the disciplinary action imposed, Gasnier and the Dragons will commit to establishing and developing an innovative welfare program to assist with educating young people in their region.
�The Board of Directors have considered all facts in relation to this incident and have imposed on Mark the highest individual fine ever imposed on a player at this Club,� said Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust.
�The severity of the financial penalty imposed on Mark reflects the level of our disappointment with his actions while in State of Origin camp last week. The Dragons have high expectations of our players to professionally represent our Club and the sport of rugby league, both on and off the field, and this behaviour falls well short of these expectations.
�However, for the Dragons, the key issues are the apology, the disciplinary action and the support and education of the individual.�
In considering this action the Board agreed that the issues were of an off-field nature, not an on-field problem.
�We felt it is absolutely essential that Mark returned to the Dragons environment as quickly as possible and he resumed training yesterday,� Doust said.
Doust also advised that the Board had contemplated extending his suspension from football, however, on balance, this was considered inappropriate as it was penalising the fans and the Club and not in the individual�s best interests.
�The Dragons understand that player suspensions have some currency as a means of discipline at the moment, however, the Club believes it is an off-field issue, not an on-field issue,� he said.
�The Club and its stakeholders are confident the future will be positive and moving forward for all parties is the important priority now.�