9 Mar 2009

Banning players from drinking over the top says Melbourne NRL skipper

6:48 pm on 9 March 2009

A blanket alcohol ban on National Rugby League players would be "over the top" and individuals need to be responsible for their actionssays Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith.

However former New South Wales origin coach Phil Gould says it may be a "necessary sacrifice" for players to swear off alcohol for the term of their NRL contracts in the wake of numerous alcohol-related incidents and allegations.

His comments come as premiers Manly were engulfed in controversy with fullback Brett Stewart being investigated by police after a 17-year-old girl claimed he sexually assaulted her following the club's season launch while second rower Anthony Watmough allegedly slapped a sponsor at the function.

Gould says players need to be saved from themselves.

Smith says he understands Gould's argument but players shouldn't be treated like children saying the problems with alcohol were part of society and not restricted to NRL players.