NRL investigating footage of Storm players in room with white substance

The NRL Integrity Unit is aware of a video allegedly involving Melbourne Storm players partying in a hotel room with what appears to be a white substance on a table.

A day after a tearful New Zealand Warriors rookie fullback Reece Walsh confessed to using cocaine after being arrested by police on the Gold Coast over the weekend, mobile phone footage emerged appearing to show the Storm pair in a room.

Melbourne’s season ended at the weekend after they were beaten by Penrith.

Storm football manager Frank Ponissi and chairman Matt Tripp declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

The NRL confirmed it was aware of the video and that the NRL Integrity Unit plan to investigate.

The manager of one of the players who appears to be in the video told the Herald his client had been partying since the loss to Penrith, but had only learned of the video footage himself earlier on Monday and was yet to speak with the player.

There appears to be up to half a dozen men in the room, including one player seated in front of the table and another without his shirt on in the background. The players do not appear to realise they are being filmed.

The headlines are the last thing the game needs after the Walsh incident and ahead of the Dally M Awards on Monday night.

At least eight Storm players are expected to attend the event in Brisbane where they are in contention for nine of the positional awards.

Coming after Walsh’s tearful confession on Sunday, questions will be asked about whether the NRL has a drug problem.

Walsh admitted to having a small bag of cocaine on him when searched by Queensland police officers after being arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning on the Gold Coast. Walsh had earlier been issued a move-on order by police just after midnight, before being spotted again by officers around 1am.

Walsh fronted an extraordinary press conference on Sunday afternoon alongside Warriors chief executive Cameron George and his manager, Nash Dawson, owning up to his mistake. He made a short statement in which he admitted to being found in possession of an illegal drug, before breaking down in tears.

“I had some [cocaine] during the night,” Walsh said. “No one else is involved in this. It’s solely on me. I’m putting my hand up. I should never have done it. It’s a mistake I made and I’m aware of that. I’m really remorseful. I’m sorry to the sponsors, the fans, the Warriors.”

More to come

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