NRL

Naden fined for bubble breach, Panthers cleared



The NRL has fined Penrith Panthers player Brent Naden $5000 for breaking biosecurity protocols last season, after the winger tested positive to cocaine on the night of the grand final loss to Melbourne.NRL officials opted to hit Naden with a breach notice instead of a suspension after he associated with people outside the Panthers’ bubble, on the night before the 2020 decider.In a statement released to the media, the NRL said the punishment was similar to sanctions handed down to other players who were guilty of committing the same offence last season.Under new WADA rules, Naden entered a rehabilitation facility after the grand final to qualify a reduced four-week ban, which he served in the off-season. He is training with the Panthers and is available for selection in round one.Brent Naden will be available for selection in round one. (Getty)The NRL says it completed an investigation into whether the Panthers had any knowledge of Naden using illicit substances on the night before the grand final, and found no evidence the club was aware of the breach.The $5000 fine is only for breaching bubble protocols, not for the drug use.”The fine is consistent with sanctions handed down to players who committed similar breaches during the 2020 season, which took into account the income of the player,” the NRL said.”Separately, the NRL has completed a thorough investigation into whether the Panthers had any knowledge of Naden using illicit substances on the evening prior to the Grand Final.”The NRL has found no evidence the club was aware of the breach prior to Naden playing in the Grand Final.”


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