Will Roosters' Mitchell Pearce's Punishment Fit The Crime?
Sydney Roosters playmaker Mitchell Pearce is reportedly to be stripped of his captaincy and fined up to $50,000 by his club after committing a lewd act while on an alcohol-fuelled Australia Day Bender.
The NRL is also likely to impose at least a six-month suspension and his club will add an immediate sacking clause to his contract to be triggered by any further misbehaviour, News Corp reports.
The NSW State of Origin player is also expected to be barred from travelling to England next month for the World Club challenge and abide by a booze ban.
An intoxicated Pearce can be seen in a video shown by the Nine Network's A Current Affair forcing an unwanted kiss on a female, who rejects his advances and clearly states "I am a lesbian," before he kisses her.
Pearce then turned his attention to the woman's dog, announcing: "I'll f*** that dog, I don't give a f***, I don't have a sexuality."
Pearce, who was shirtless but wearing shorts, is then seen to simulate sex with the dog.
The woman tells him to stop but Pearce continues to simulate sex with the animal before the woman takes the dog away and tells him to leave.
Pearce again states what he would like to do to the animal.
"I want to f*** your dog, I don't even care anymore."
The woman then suggests Pearce had also urinated on her couch.
A Roosters official told News Corp the Roosters would oversee counselling sessions for the 26-year-old half-back and insist he goes on a permanent booze ban.
"Mitchell obviously needs to be severely punished but he also needs professional help", the official said.
"At this stage he'll lose the captaincy, be heavily fined and we won't take him to England."
Club chairman Nick Politis is expected to insert a new clause in Mitchell's contract stipulating if he sets another foot out of line off-field, the Roosters will rip up his existing deal, News Corp reports.
This is not the first time Pearce has found himself in trouble because of issues with alcohol.
In 2014, he was fined $20,000 by the Roosters after a nightclub incident in Kings Cross where a female patron complained about his advances and he was asked to leave the venue.
After that incident, he went on a self-imposed alcohol ban.
The latest episode casts a shadow over his footballing future, especially in the wake of Todd Carney's banishment from the NRL for an alcohol-fuelled incident in 2014 at a Cronulla night spot.
Warning: This footage may be upsetting to some readers.
In 2010, Canberra released representative centre Joel Monaghan after a lewd act with an animal during the Raiders' Mad Monday celebrations.
The Roosters announced on Wednesday night they would conduct an internal investigation while the NRL awaited a report from the Roosters into the incident.
"The Integrity Unit will work with the Roosters to ensure the matter is dealt with appropriately," read the NRL statement.
The Rugby League Players' Association (RLPA) issued a statement on Wednesday night saying it was not appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the case without knowing all the facts but it would provide Pearce with "appropriate wellbeing support as needed".