SYDNEY – A sex tape claiming to feature a New South Wales State of Origin player that went viral Monday was a “stitch-up” aimed at derailing their preparation ahead of the annual rugby league series, team chiefs said.
The fiercely-contested three-game inter-state showdown against Queensland kicks off on Wednesday and the tape was released just as Brad Fittler’s team was leaving Sydney for Brisbane.
Several local media outlets which were sent the video said it showed a man, claimed to be a NSW Origin star, engaged in a sex act with a woman while in the company of another man.
A tagline described the alleged player as a “dirty dawg.”
Blues assistant coach Greg Alexander told the Sydney Daily Telegraph: “For starters it’s not even one of our players.”
Asked if it was a deliberate sabotage, Alexander said: “The timing of it. Please. Of course it is. The day we arrive in Brisbane this happens. It’s just a stitch-up.”
NSW coach Brad Fittler added to reporters: “We’ve been made aware of it and it’s not him.”
Its release is another embarrassment for rugby league, which has reeled from a string of scandals this year that Australian media dubbed “the off-season from Hell.”
In March, Panthers’ playmaker Tyrone May was suspended indefinitely after being charged by police for allegedly filming and sharing images of sexual acts with two separate women on different occasions without their knowledge.
It followed Canterbury Bulldogs star Dylan Napa being fined 10 percent of his 2019 salary for appearing in several sex tapes.
Two other players were suspended indefinitely after the National Rugby League introduced a stringent new regime against players accused of serious crimes.
Queensland have dominated the State of Origin in recent times, but New South Wales turned the tables last year, winning the opening games in Melbourne and Sydney before the Maroons clinched the final match at Brisbane.