‘I deserve it’: Bad boy hits back at critics

Troubled NRL star Paul Vaughan has hit out at critics who don’t believe he should get a second chance in the competition.

Vaughan was the ringleader of the infamous St George Illawarra Dragons Covid-19 breach, as he hosted a BBQ which a number of his teammates attended.

The forward copped a $50,000 fine, an eight-game suspension and his Dragons contract, believed to be $800,000 a season, was torn to shreds.

But Vaughan’s had plenty of time to think about his actions, and has three words to say to those who believe he should have played his last game of footy.

“I deserve it,” Vaughan said.

“Everyone’s going to have their opinion. I can’t change much about that.

“I’m very willing and very motivated to show everyone that I deserve this opportunity.

Vaughan has hit back at critics who don’t believe he deserves a second chance in the NRL. Picture: Ashley Feder / Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I don’t take it for granted at all. I think I can still play my best football in the Bulldogs’ environment.

“I know deep down in myself that I think I deserve this opportunity and I’m going to take it with both hands.

“I’m not going to let anyone second guess if it’s the right thing to do.”

It’s been weeks since Vaughan was sacked by the Dragons; he’s since had plenty of time to mull over his actions.

Unsurprisingly, the power of hindsight has been a major driving force in Vaughan’s thoughts, as he watches the Dragons’ games from his couch.

“I’d give anything to go back and change the decisions that I made that afternoon,” Vaughan said.

“I’d love to change what happened, I’d do anything I could to go back in time, but I can’t do that.

Vaughan is all too aware of the power of hindsight. Picture: Speed Media / Icon Sportswire via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“I’ve got to accept that and now it’s just about putting my best foot forward with the Bulldogs.”

Vaughan’s on-field exploits as a damaging ballrunner in the forward pack earned him two call-ups with the Kangaroos in 2019 as well as six games with the NSW Blues in Origin across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

But it’s his off-field presence Vaughan knows he has to rectify in order to satisfy fans of the Belmore outfit he’s worthy of wearing the jersey.

“Once I get to the Bulldogs and meet the CEO and everyone there, I’m going to be doing everything that I can to put things in place where I’d like to do a lot of community work,” Vaughan said.

“I’d like to do a lot of things to get the trust back and do as much as I can for the club to prove that I’m worthy of the contract and the faith they’ve put in me.

“Everything that I can do that’s available, I’m willing to do it.”

Trent Barrett’s side will need every ounce of Vaughan’s positivity and knowledge of the game as he looks to steer the club into a positive future after what’s shaping up as a frustrating 2021 season.

The Bulldogs languish in last spot on the ladder, with just two wins next to their name this season and are four points off the Brisbane Broncos in 15th.

However, they only have to face one team in the top eight – the Manly Sea Eagles – in their remaining six fixtures.

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