Put down the phone. Read a book. Don’t be knobheads. That is Andrew Johns’ tip for NRL players to mull over in self-isolation, saying it could help avoid off-field scandals like the recent Canterbury controversy.
The rugby league Immortal was left shaking his head over the behaviour of Bulldogs players Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera who were this week deregistered by the NRL after it was revealed the pair had sex with teenage schoolgirls on a team trip to Port Macquarie in February.
Okunbor, 23, and Harawira-Naera, 24, were accused of contacting the girls on social media and inviting them to the team hotel for consensual sex after earlier visiting a high school for a promotional NRL visit.
Johns said players didn’t need any more education from the NRL on how to conduct themselves but still offered some free, old school advice.
“How much education can you give them?” he told Wide World of Sports.
“I will give them some education – get your phones, put them in your bag and don’t get them out.
“Don’t look at social media. It’s not real life.
“A little bit of old school (advice) – don’t be knobheads, be smart.
Jayden Okunbor may never play professional rugby league againSource:News Corp Australia
“Go and buy a book, read some books, you might find you actually enjoy it.” While frustrated by the Bulldogs players’ behaviour, Johns reckoned one of them may be seen in the NRL again.
“I don’t know the whole story (but) Harawira-Naera I think will be back … within a year or two (Harawira-Naera) will pop up,” he said.
“Okunbor it’s a different case … he got the young girl from school.”
Despite the controversy, Johns was not concerned about the Bulldogs’ team culture with CEO Andrew Hill and coach Dean Pay at the helm.
“I have to say, the Bulldogs in all of this should be applauded with the way this was handled,” he said.
“You can see Andrew Hill and Dean Pay have been trying to change the culture at the club.”
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