New South Wales officials have taken a firm stance against misbehaving players, today throwing the Blues preparation into chaos by dropping a further player from next Wednesday night�s first State of Origin match at Telstra Stadium.
Roosters star Anthony Minichiello was sacked from the Blues squad tonight following a marathon six hour meeting that involved ARL officials, Willie Mason, Mark O�Meley, Craig Gower, Craig Wing, Trent Waterhouse and of course Minchiello.
Minichiello defied an order not to take his mobile phone to a team bonding session on Tuesday night. That defiance indirectly led to the phone message sex scandal that resulted in Dragons star Mark Gasnier being sacked from the Origin squad.
Gasnier used Minichiello�s phone to make the 3:41am call to the woman, who he didn�t know.
In addition, five NSW players have been fined � two of them for visiting what ARL official John Chalk described as an �inappropriate place�. Chalk did not confirm nor deny the possibility of that place being a brothel.
Trent Waterhouse, Willie Mason, Craig Gower, Craig Wing and Mark O�Meley were all fined $3,000 each, with Mason earning himself an additional $3,000 in fines for his behaviour at a team appearance in Liverpool yesterday as well as for his behaviour on a public bus on Wednesday. Trent Waterhouse was fined an additional $2,000 for his behaviour on that public bus.
ARL officials, who held a press conference tonight four hours after it was initially scheduled, said players would not be allowed to leave the team hotel during the camp from now on unless given specific authorisation by team management.
But team management themselves could find themselves in hot water, with confirmation that all positions are �under review.�
ARL officials were grilled by media representatives at the press conference over the nature of the fines and the failure to sack members of team management, which had been rumoured throughout the afternoon. The constant response from John Chalk was that team management was �under review� and that the fines were the toughest possible that they could impose on players.
A replacement for Minichiello has not yet been named. Team management as well as coach Phil Gould will make that decision over the weekend.
Minichiello as well as the players fined are understood to be meeting with their managers, with most expected to release statements this evening.