Lies and deception: Inside story of party that destroyed Dragons' season
4 min read
fairly easy
Despite the club forbidding a proposed bonding session at WIN Stadium, a few hours later Paul Vaughan texted players to invite them over for a barbecue.
A noise complaint, made by a neighbour, resulted in police arriving at the 30-year-old's Shellharbour property. Loading It is understood fullback Matt Dufty was out the front of the house on the phone when police cars arrived. He ran five kilometres to his nearby home. His car remained outside Vaughan's property on Tuesday. The other players dispersed, some upstairs and some outside, to avoid the police. Corey Norman wasn't anywhere to be seen, but personalised number plates of a vehicle outside left officers certain he was at the party. Jack de Belin hid upstairs, with suggestions he was under Vaughan's bed. On Sunday morning, after club director Craig Young provided the NRL integrity unit with preliminary information, the club organised a group Zoom meeting with all of its players. By this stage some players had confessed to their presence at the party, but it remained unclear how many were there and if anyone from outside the club had been there too.

The club didn't want to name and shame in front of the group, so they asked all those who attended Vaughan's get-together to contact the football department at the conclusion of the Zoom call and be honest to help the club move on. Jack de Belin never made the call. And his teammates didn't name him either. Behind the scenes, using Zoom calls, players corroborated and manufactured stories to protect de Belin, who recently had rape charges dropped after a three-year legal battle.…
Michael Chammas
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