NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney commends Bulldogs for hard-line stance on misconduct

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has commended the Canterbury Bulldogs for their quick response to the latest off-field NRL scandal.

Kiwis forward Corey Harawira-Naera and teammate Jayden Okunbor have been stood down from playing, after alleged misconduct involving two New South Wales school girls. 

While the hotel meet-up was apparently not a criminal matter, the club reported the incident to the NRL Integrity Unit and the players were provisionally suspended.

Kearney has backed the swift action, as the game tries to rebuild its image after several years of unsavoury incidents.

"[Coach] Dean Pay and his team at the Bulldogs have made the call they have made and if it happened here, I'd be exactly the same," Kearney said on Wednesday.

"What I do know is, with our footy team, that kind of stuff is not on. If one of our players did that, then they'd be sitting out this week too.

"It's not good enough."

Kearney said the ongoing distractions that continue to plague the NRL were "frustrating", but the former Kiwi captain and coach believes a hard-line stance would send the message to the players that unacceptable behaviour would be punished accordingly.

NRL 2020: NZ Warriors coach Stephen Kearney commends Bulldogs for hard-line stance on misconduct

"The less time spent talking about it, the better and it's been dealt with, but you have to crack down hard - that sort of behaviour shouldn't be tolerated.

"Our group are aware that something like that is not on - so let's move on."

The Warriors open their NRL campaign at the Newcastle Knights on Saturday, with the coronavirus cloud looming over the start of the season.

Aussie Rules was hit with its first case of the epidemic on Tuesday, sparking concerns from rugby league fans that an NRL player could be next.

But Kearney said the club was taking no chances when it came to travel, and has implemented team protocols around health and safety around the virus.

"We are taking extra precaution in heading over [to Sydney] tomorrow.

"The players will have a little pack that will help them look after themselves - we have the antibacterial spray for the hands.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure no-one in the group catches the virus.

"I've been through the airport a couple of times in the last month and I don't think I've got it so, I think we'll be okay."

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