Gower loses captaincy, fined for groping - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gower loses captaincy, fined for groping

By Glenn Cullen 04/01/2006 08:57:28 PM Comments (0)

Penrith halfback Craig Gower was on Wednesday night sacked as captain and fined by the NRL club after it found him guilty of misconduct following a series of alcohol-fuelled incidents on the Sunshine Coast a fortnight ago.

The 27-year-old was fined $100,000 - $70,000 of which was suspended and the rest to go into an NRL program aimed at educating players about the responsible use of alcohol.

And NRL boss David Gallop warned Gower he was skating on thin ice after the Test star - who captained Australia in one game during the Kangaroos' recent tour of Great Britain and France - was the latest to put the code in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons.

A stoney-faced Gower appeared with his representative David Brown after the three-hour meeting at Penrith headquarters and refused to answer questions from the assembled media.

It took a further 30 minutes for club chairman Barry Walsh to emerge and he would only read from a pre-prepared statement.

Gower had appeared before the Panthers board on Wednesday after it was revealed he'd groped the 18-year-old daughter of rugby league legend Wayne Pearce at a function during the Jack Newton Celebrity Golf Classic.

When interviewed by Penrith general manager Mick Leary about the incident Tatum Pearce said that Gower had touched her on the vagina at a function.

Gower had used the event as an extended bucks party celebration, with the international also alleged to have made a threatening gesture towards Pearce's son Mitchell, held a butter knife to the throat of a Sydney radio personality and walked naked round the Twin Waters Resort.

The statement issued on Wednesday did not address specific allegations other than to say: "his actions on the Sunshine Coast caused distress to a number of people and damaged our club, our game and the National Rugby League."

Gower has publicly apologised over the incidents.

The $70,000 fine was suspended on the grounds that Gower entered into "an agreement with the club to be of good behaviour" and to participate in a program for social responsibility and counselling for the responsible use of alcohol.

He would then be expected to comply with any directives arising from the program.

Gower has a track record of other off the field indiscretions - in 1999 he was sacked from the Kangaroos after exposing himself to a tourist at the Coogee Bay Hotel while last year he was fined after breaking curfew from the NSW State of Origin team.

He was due to marry former cheerleader Amanda Flynn later this month.

Gallop, who is currently on holidays, suggested Gower was pushing his luck and effectively said any further misdemeanour would be dealt with directly by the peak body.

"We will review the manner when we receive a formal report," Gallop told AAP.

"On the face of it, the club has been through an exhaustive process and impose a significant penalty.

"It goes without saying, Craig Gower cannot find himself in this position again.

"The suspended fine would be only part of what he might face, either from his club or the league."

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