The NRL will issue a formal warning to Cronulla forward Toby Rudolf for his sexist comments made on live television on Sunday night.
A post-match interview with Fox Sports has gone viral for Rudolf’s candid responses, in which he spoke about having “1000 beers” after the Sharks’ 32-18 win over St George Illawarra.
You can watch the interview in the video above
However, the funny moment took a turn when the Sharks lock said he would: “Go to Northies, try and pull something – anything will do.”
On Tuesday morning NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo told AAP he was “very disappointed” in Rudolf’s comments and intended to issue a formal warning.
“I was very disappointed with Toby’s comments, they were inappropriate and should not have been said,” Abdo told AAP.
“We are going to issue Toby with a formal warning and I know the club are going to counsel him so there is not a repeat.
“Respect for women is one of the foundations of our society and our players, as role models, need to be leaders in this area.”
The interview was published across various media outlets and social media on Sunday night and Monday, prompting the NRL and Cronulla to act.
While players showing their personality in interviews is considered good promotion for the game, the NRL has drawn the line at degrading comments towards women.
It is understood the Sharks were also concerned by Rudolf’s comments with chief executive Dino Mezzatesta speaking to the 25-year-old on Monday.
Additional education is set to be offered and the club have been contacted for comment.
The NRL’s swift action follows their recent reinforcement of the importance of respect for women and tougher penalties for players found to have committed violence against women.
NRL great’s Dally M controversy
NRL great Luke Lewis has been forced to address concerns about his dual roles as a Dally M judge and Cronulla Sharks coach, just one day after a similar drama involving Darren Lockyer.
The 37-year-old, who won premierships at both the Panthers and Sharks, declared he was “100% professional” with his voting, despite a perceived conflict of interest regarding his role as a specialist coach at Cronulla.
Lewis has confirmed that the NRL was well aware of his commitments at the Sharks before asking him to give 3-2-1 votes on games involving the club.
“Anyone who knows me, they know I’m not picking someone because they’re a mate,” Lewis told News Corp.
“I’d also like to think my credibility goes far enough that people know I wouldn’t just pick someone because they’re a Cronulla player.
“But if people want to question my integrity that’s up to them.
“I know I’m professional.
“And if I get asked again, I’ll put my hand up no matter which teams are involved.
“Because I’ll be 100 per cent professional and pick the best players.”
Lewis awarded points to Sharks fullback Will Kennedy (3), playmaker Matt Moylan (2) and Dragons centre Jack Bird (1) for their roles in Cronulla’s 32-18 win over St George Illawarra.
Lewis, who commentates NRL games for ABC Radio, also defended Broncos legend Lockyer, who was forced to address the same conflict of interest questions on Monday after judging the Broncos Round 1 game against the Eels.
“How does anyone question a guy like Darren Lockyer?” Lewis said.
Lockyer, who is a Broncos board member, gave three votes to Parramatta prop Junior Paulo, two to Eels hooker Reed Mahoney and one to Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford on Friday night.
There is no suggestion either NRL great voted with any bias.
Lockyer told News Corp he’s been a Dally M judge for several years and has previously done Broncos games.
“When asked to vote on games I watch the game and give my votes based entirely on what I see,” Lockyer said.
“Who’s playing has no influence on my votes whatsoever.”
The Dally M voting system was criticised last year when Canberra playmaker Jack Wighton stunned the field to win the top gong despite many considering Penrith star Nathan Cleary to have had the best season.
The NRL has since launched a review into the voting process and a panel has been assembled to assess whether the system can be improved.
NRL boss Andrew Abdo defended Lockyer’s integrity but conceded there’s a perceived conflict of interest with him voting on Broncos games.
“I don’t for a second doubt Darren’s integrity and he’s been doing this for a number of years for us,” Abdo said.
“As evidenced by his votes on the weekend, he had two Eels players in there. His integrity has never been questioned.
“We are in a process of doing a review around the awards more broadly and it hasn’t been completed. There is some work being done on who can be represented on the panel.
“We need to look into it because perception is sometimes also really important.
“Whilst I don’t have any concerns about Darren’s objectivity or integrity, perhaps we need to make sure we are protecting everyone and there can never be doubt around perception.
“We will look at the eligibility requirements to protect everyone.”
– With 7NEWS