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Rugby league mired in more controversy over a -

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Reporter: Simon Santow

ELEANOR HALL: Rugby league officials are under pressure to ban more players, just a week after it
took action against Manly star player Brett Stewart.

The wave of bad publicity over incidents involving players and alcohol has now spread from the
game's best right through to some of the code's most promising juniors.

As Simon Santow reports.

SIMON SANTOW: Alcohol is fast becoming the scourge of rugby league.

Fans awoke this morning to more damaging headlines.

A Sydney Rooster was arrested after blowing three times the legal limit after a drinking session on
Monday.

He's been selected to play this weekend after copping a fine from his club.

And a Cronulla Shark is alleged to have urinated on himself outside a local nightspot on the
weekend before falling in a heap on a garden bed.

Late this morning, the club's CEO Tony Zappia released a statement saying halfback Brett Seymour
had been stood down.

TONY ZAPPIA (voiceover): With current events in mind it would be an understatement to say we're
disappointed Brett has put himself in this position. He is obviously slow on the uptake, showing a
lack of responsibility to himself, his teammates and to the club.

SIMON SANTOW: And a parent of a South Sydney junior player has complained about the team's victory
song and what he says is a glorification of binge drinking.

This is a version of it sung by the Rabbitohs' senior players and aired in the documentary
Southside Story.

(Excerpt from Southside Story)

RUGBY PLAYER: Now they're all around the bar and the captains declared decorum,

We're drinking our way through the night and we're having the time of our lives...

RUGBY PLAYER 2: Throw the empties away, start again, start again,

For the boys of South Sydney are together and we'll drink till...

(End of excerpt)

SIMON SANTOW: South's junior club president is Keith McGraw.

KEITH MCGRAW: The victory song is a song that's been song by the Rabbitohs for as long as we can
remember and it's as part of the traditions and what we have the kids aspire to become as one day a
Rabbitoh and we have always sung that victory song.

We take more than 100 children away on development tours each year, have done so for the last 15
years. We've done two overseas tours and at no time have we had any incident in regard to alcohol.
We have presentation evenings at the end of the year, Simon, where obviously not only the children
there's no alcohol consumed, but nor do the parents or officials.

We in fact have organised two forums to be held here in the auditorium of South juniors by our
welfare manager who is also the drug and alcohol officer for the CFMEU. One on one Wednesday
evenings for parents, teachers, officials of clubs in regard to the awareness of drug and alcohol,
and the symptoms. And then one the following week for the children.

But the media don't pick up on all the good mate.

SIMON SANTOW: The National Rugby League is yet to comment on the latest controversies involving
alcohol to beset the game.

It has spent considerable money in recent years trying to educate players, particularly juniors, on
the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Former champion junior player Darren Marton uses his own experiences to help players on behalf of
the NRL.

DARREN MARTON: Unfortunately I got involved in alcohol, with alcohol and cannabis early on in my
life and it ended up intravenous drug use with heroin and crystal meth, but alcohol was the big
destroyer and yeah, I just go in there and I share my personal experiences and the consequences
that resulted from those wrong choices.

And you know, they've been very positive. A lot of the Toyota Cup players at seminars I've run with
them have actually gone back to universities and to schools advocating the work that I do. So it's
been very, very positive.

SIMON SANTOW: For these are young men, typically 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds...

DARREN MARTON: Yep.

SIMON SANTOW: Do you find that they're listening attentively?

DARREN MARTON: Yes they do, only because I've been there. I have personal experience and I, you
know, some people, and many young people in schools too, they sort of think, 'Oh here we go,
another drug and alcohol talk, you know, we've heard it all before, blah, blah, blah'.

SIMON SANTOW: I imagine though Darren Marton that they all sort of say, 'Well I don't have a
problem, you had a problem but I don't, I can control my drinking'.

DARREN MARTON: Yeah well there's many people that seem to think they can control it, but the
biggest concern is the binge drinking because the vast amounts of alcohol that goes in such a short
amount of time, you know, you quickly lose control of all your awareness and things like that.

So, you know, just because somebody isn't dependent upon alcohol doesn't mean that, you know, that
it can't cause carnage in their life if they're going out on a bender and consuming large amounts
of alcohol.

ELEANOR HALL: Darren Marton is a campaigner against alcohol and drug abuse. He was speaking Simon
Santow.