National Rugby League Bulldogs Captain Michael Ennis issued a "heartfelt" apology for the abuse of a female TV journalist as team CEO Todd Greenberg "urged the culprits to come forward, apologise and accept their punishment for the ugly incident," according to THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant called for a full report from the club into a matter he described as "serious." Canterbury Bulldogs players made "derogatory remarks," aimed at Nine Network reporter Jayne Azzopardi. Ennis said that the comments "were out of character from players he knew as mates and blamed the Mad Monday mix of high-octane fun and alcohol." Any players or staff "found guilty of the offences face a range of sanctions under the club's strict code of conduct for off-field misdemeanours," including written warnings or fines. It is believed the ARLC is "poised to come over the top with a punishment if it is unhappy with the way the Bulldogs handle the incident" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/3).
DEFENDING THE PLAYERS: In Sydney, Brad Walter reported that Canterbury sponsor Gary Johnston has "defended players." Johnston, whose company Jaycar Electronics is the Bulldogs jersey sponsor, said that "the celebrations were a private function and the media had been locked out." It was unclear who had made the comments as they were heard through a slightly opened window, and Johnston said that Azzopardi, "would have been 40m away." Johnston said, "I do know that microphone was some considerable distance from the window and they would have had to use electronic augmentation to even pick up that." He added: "I am 110% behind the Canterbury club. There was an expectation of privacy and these kids had dropped their guard and they were goofing off. They are in their 20s and they may say things that in public they would not say...even in semi-public, sensible professionals like Alan Jones still make dreadful mistakes and these are only kids" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/3).