28 Oct 2014

Gallen to fight NRL sanctions

2:53 pm on 28 October 2014

The New South Wales league captain Paul Gallen is set to fight the sanctions handed down by the National Rugby League for breaching their code of conduct following his offensive tweet directed at league officials.

Paul Gallen plays for the Sharks against the Warriors in 2013.

Paul Gallen plays for the Sharks against the Warriors in 2013. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Gallen was fined $55,000 and banned from playing for Australia in 2015 unless he successfully completes a leader's accountability course.

The Cronulla Sharks skipper is understood to be furious and is planning to appeal.

He believes he didn't question the NRL's integrity in his tweet despite using foul language.

Australian media are reporting that pressure is mounting from the NRL to have Gallen stripped of the NSW captaincy.

While the NRL has no control over who the NSWRL appoints as skipper, the code's governing body is expected to have a stern word to Blues officials about Gallen's suitability to lead his state.

The New South Wales Rugby League has said it would "not abandon" Gallen despite acknowledging his comments were highly offensive.

NRL chief executive Dave Smith labelled the tweet, in which Gallen wrote "Steve Noice (sic) actually cared about players from cronulla's feelings. Couldn't say that about any other c--- from Nrl", a clear breach of the code of conduct and said it was, "aggravated by the fact that Gallen, as captain of the NSW Blues, holds an important leadership position in the game".

Gallen has seven days to respond to the breach notice which included the maximum fine the NRL could impose.

Cronulla's board meets Wednesday night where Gallen's leadership of the club is also expected to come under the microscope.

The Sharks chairman Damian Keogh said the club supported the strong sanctions. "The last two years have been a difficult period for the Sharks and our focus is on performing strongly on and off the field in 2015," he said.

"So it is disappointing to have the club involved in this sort of issue as we prepare for next season."

Gallen said he had tried to contact Smith following his Twitter tirade against the code's governing body.