One of the 13 Dragons players who was busted at an illegal house party amid Sydney’s lockdown has admitted the group never thought they’d get caught.
Josh Maguire, 31, attended the now-infamous barbecue at prop Paul Vaughan’s Shellharbour home, south of Sydney, on July 3.
Vaughan was sacked while the dozen other players were given one match suspensions.
Maguire, who joined St George Illawarra this season after previously starring for the Cowboys and Broncos, fronted the media and said he and his fellow teammates never thought the gathering would ‘escalate to the magnitude it has’.
Josh Maguire, 31, (pictured) attended the now infamous barbecue at prop Paul Vaughan’s Shellharbour home, south of Sydney, on July 3
‘The decision going to the barbecue everyone made, and at the end of the day we didn’t think it would be a drama and we wouldn’t get caught,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘We’re very sorry and remorseful. It was a bunch of blokes who made an honest stupid mistake and just didn’t think.
‘We did understand [the rules] and can’t sit here and say we didn’t understand. We were in Shellharbour, a long way away from everything that was happening.’
Maguire said when police eventually arrived at the home, a few of the players chose to speak to the officers while others decided they didn’t want to ‘hang around’.
Several players reportedly hid in cupboards when the party was brought to a standstill while Jack De Belin allegedly slid underneath a bed.
The NRL has issued $305,000 in fines on top of the $1,000 fines issued by police to each of the 13 players, and Paul Vaughan’s wife Elle, (pictured together) for breaching stay-at-home orders
Police are also investigating claims more revellers were seen running down the street when officers arrived at Vaughan’s home.
But Maguire admitted some of the boys were ‘scared’.
‘It was a poor decision by us. It’s hard. We’re still quite upset and disappointed. I’m shattered I brought this club into this situation.’
The 31-year-old said breaking the news to his coach Anthony Griffin was one of the ‘hardest phone calls’ he’s ever had to make, adding Griffin was ‘ropable’ with the team.
Blake Lawrie who was also as the Covid-breaching get together said he admitted the group thought the party was ‘harmless’ because they were all inside their own bubble.
‘We can’t do anything about what we’ve done, we have to learn from our mistakes and move on,’ he said.
The NRL has issued $305,000 in fines on top of the $1,000 fines issued by police to each of the 13 players, and Vaughan’s wife Elle, for breaching stay-at-home orders.
Paul Vaughan was sacked by St George Illawarra after hosting 12 Dragons teammates at his Shellharbour home (pictured) on July 3
Zac Lomax (pictured) also attended the party earlier this month
Controversial Dragons player Jack De Belin will miss a match later this month for his attendance at the illegal house party
Other attendees included Dragons players Corey Norman, Daniel Alvaro, Zac Lomax, Jack Bird, Kaide Ellis, Matt Dufty, Tyrell Fuimaono, Gerard Beale, and Josh Kerr.
Vaughan and Norman have been slapped with $50,000 fines while de Belin was penalised $42,000.
The ten other Dragons were fined between $2,000 and $25,000.
The 12 Dragons players were suspended for one game each.
The suspensions will be staggered out in order to ensure the Dragons can field a side in the coming weeks.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys was also furious the NRL competition was been put in jeopardy, calling the party a ‘selfish act of stupidity’.
‘The players have to understand that if they don’t follow the protocols there will be no game,’ he said.
Daniel Alvaro will have to sit out for one game after being caught at the illegal gathering