Incident puts the heat on Dragons
ST GEORGE Illawarra officials and the National Rugby League's Integrity Unit are co-operating fully with police who are investigating an altercation at a Wollongong hotel allegedly involving at least one of the club's players.
A 26 year-old man was treated for deep head cuts at Wollongong Public Hospital late on Thursday night after an incident at the Illawarra Hotel spilled out onto the street.
No charges had been laid yesterday afternoon, but police were continuing their investigations into the violent incident with the help of both the Dragons and the NRL's special Integrity Unit.
After initially refusing to comment on how many players were involved, the club issued a statement late yesterday afternoon saying they had stood down two-game player Craig Garvey following an internal investigation into the incident.
"The St George Illawarra Dragons have determined to stand down Craig Garvey from all club activities for breaching the club's Code of Conduct following an internal investigation in relation to an incident in Wollongong on Thursday," the statement said.
"Craig informed the club on Friday morning of his involvement in an incident at the Hotel Illawarra."
Garvey is believed to have been drinking at the hotel with two St George Illawarra teammates, one of whom was a senior player and the other on the club's extended playing list.
Hotel management declined to comment or say if any CCTV footage had been handed to police.
The unwanted incident happened just 24 hours after the NRL and Sydney Roosters star Anthony Minichiello launched the 2014 season which kicks off next week with Thursday night's blockbuster between defending premiers Sydney Roosters and South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
The Dragons, widely tipped to vie for the wooden spoon, open their season against the Wests Tigers on the Sunday.
Meanwhile, star Brisbane recruit Ben Barba has declared he will be fit to make his debut against his former club, the Canterbury Bulldogs, in Sydney next Friday.
Concerns had been building about Barba's availability after he limped home from the Auckland Nines earlier this month with a foot injury.
Speaking for the first time at the club's fan launch in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall yesterday, the utility dynamo said the words all Broncos fans have been wanting to hear: "the foot is good".
"I've been back running for a few days and I am on track for round one and looking forward to it," the 2012 Dally M medal winner said.