NRL star Munster to get treatment for alcohol-related issues

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Melbourne Storm playmaker Cameron Munster has elected to go into a treatment facility to deal with issues relating to alcohol after accepting a one-match ban and a fine from Australia’s National Rugby League for bringing the game into disrepute.

Munster and teammates Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis were on Tuesday issued with fines and banned from the opening round of the 2022 season after the NRL investigated videos which emerged last week of Storm players partying after their season ended last month.

Munster, who has played 151 NRL games for the Storm dating back to 2014 and has represented Australia at international level, accepted the ban and issued an apology for his behavior.

“I’ve had a difficult relationship with alcohol in the past. I thought that I had dealt with the issue, but clearly I still have some hurdles to overcome,” the 27-year-old five-eighth said in a statement. “I want you all to know that I’m working on that.”

Munster said he'd made the decision, in consultation with the club's doctor, to enter a treatment facility on Wednesday for four weeks.

“I know I’ve let a lot of people down and I’ll do whatever it takes to restore your faith in me,” he said. “Hopefully you’ll see by my actions that I am dedicated to change.”

Munster was fined 30,000 Australian dollars ($22,000) by the NRL and received a suspended fine of 100,000 Australian dollars ($73,000) from the Storm. The club also imposed additional behavioral conditions on the players as part of what it described as a disciplinary action agreement.

Under the agreement, Munster must abstain from alcohol for 12 months, has been cut from the team's leadership group and has to enter into an ongoing welfare program.

“The players know they are on notice, they all have significant fines hanging over their head, and face significant consequences for any future indiscretion, no matter how big or small," Melbourne Storm chief executive Justin Rodski said.

Melbourne Storm lost in the semifinals to the Penrith Panthers, who went on to win the NRL title last Sunday with a victory over South Sydney.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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