Vatuvei, Matulino and Thompson suspended after abusing prescription drugs

New Zealand Rugby League have suspended three of their players following their actions on a night out.

Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Bodene Thompson have been ruled out of Friday’s Test match against Australia for mixing prescription sleeping pills with energy drinks.

The trio were part of a group of six New Zealand Warriors players also dropped and disciplined by the NRL club for their actions.

Samoa’s Sam Lisone and Tonga’s Albert Vete were also involved and also have been indefinitely dropped by their countries, while Konrad Hurrell – another Tongan – was reportedly the group’s driver.

New Zealand Rugby League’s acting chief executive Alex Hayton told the country’s Radio Sport: “The Warriors kept us informed all the way through the process with the selection.

“It’s an issue we had back after the [2013] World Cup. We have a stance we’ve taken on this so, based on the information we’ve had from the Warriors, the decision was made not to select those players.

“It’s not just a rugby league issue. It’s an issue that’s across professional sport.”

Auckland Warriors managing director Jim Doyle also reaffirmed the club’s position on the players who were disciplined last week to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’re continuing to deal with this internally, focusing on player welfare,” he said. “We won’t be going into any details and we won’t be making any further comment.”

New Zealand Rugby Union revealed back in 2014 that All Blacks pair Cory Jane and Israel Dagg took prescription sleeping pills while on a night out in Auckland during the 2011 World Cup.


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