Auto Poster Shaun Johnson and Cronulla Sharks barred from sailing club after late-night fracas

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Apr 23, 2013

Shaun Johnson's move to the Cronulla Sharks has coincided with a tumultuous time for the NRL club.

Former New Zealand Warriors superstar Shaun Johnson has one less trendy Sydney nightspot to hang out at.

The entire Cronulla Sharks squad has been barred by Cronulla Sailing Club as a result of a late-night incident that the Sharks and police are investigating.

The club – one of the Sutherland Shire's most popular nightspots – has taken the extraordinary step of telling the area's NRL club that their players are no longer welcome there.

The blacklisting comes after an altercation on the night of December 21 in which a series of scuffles are understood to have broken out across the venue involving lower-grade players, prompting police to be called.

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The Sharks have been investigating the incident since before Christmas and are yet to determine whether to begin disciplinary proceedings with any players.

The action taken by the sailing club – which, like the Sharks, is considered an institution in the Shire – has led to speculation that the episode may have been more serious than a fracas involving lower-graders. The Sydney Morning Herald has been told there were also first-grade players at the sailing club on the night who did not intervene.

Sharks chief executive Barry Russell said on Friday the club was treating it "very seriously".

"I can confirm there was an incident, which is being investigated by the club. The club has informed the [NRL] integrity unit and is working with police with their investigation," he said. "We will take the appropriate action once the investigation is concluded."

Cronulla Sailing Club licensee Ken McKay, a former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner, was also tight-lipped about what transpired at his venue before Christmas.

"There will be no comment from the Cronulla Sailing Club as there is a current and ongoing investigation being conducted by the Licensing Police at Cronulla as well as an investigation being conducted by the CEO at the Sharks," McKay said in a text message.

The banning of the whole playing group by a licensed venue is the latest episode in a tumultuous off-season for Cronulla. The incident at the sailing club occurred two days after coach Shane Flanagan was deregistered and the Sharks were fined $A800,000 (NZ$844,000) by the NRL after the governing body found he had breached the terms of his 12-month suspension in 2014 with his communications with the club that year.


Former player John Morris is the new interim Sharks coach after the NRL deregistered Shane Flanagan.

John Morris, who was an assistant coach under Flanagan, has since been named interim coach while Flanagan prepares a response to the claims against him. Flanagan has until the end of January to lodge his submission.

The club is also awaiting the outcome of an NRL salary cap investigation into the Sharks after Russell last year reported to head office potential breaches of the rules involving third-party deals.

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