Ban for David Williams betting on Sea Eagles games

MANLY winger David Williams took a silly gamble and lost big time with the National Rugby League yesterday suspending him for the rest of the 2014 season for betting on its matches.

Williams, who has played for state and country and whose club currently leads the competition and is strongly tipped to be in the grand final, was one of five players suspended in the wake of the NRL's integrity swoop on sports bookmakers and TAB betting records.

Also caught in the random raids were North Queensland's Ethan Lowe, who has played some first grade for the Cowboys, and lower-graders Cody Nelson (Gold Coast) and Melbourne's Hymel Hunt and Slade Griffin, who were all stood down for two games for placing bets on games.

It is understood Williams was dealt with more harshly because a number of the bets he placed involved games in which he played.

The NRL's integrity unit carried out an extensive investigation into the betting activities of players, staff and club officials, sacking three casual game-day staff and suspending another nine for the rest of the season.

Integrity unit boss Jim Doyle revealed the bans yesterday, warning future penalties for betting on NRL games would be even tougher as part of a zero-tolerance policy. He said there was no evidence of serious abuse of the betting laws or match-fixing, but a whole range of suspensions, terminations and warnings had been issued by the NRL to those who had breached the strict betting rules.

Apart from the terminations and suspensions, he said first and final warnings have been issued to 12 registered NRL players, staff and officials who had placed small, isolated bets on rugby league matches.

NSW and Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds has taken an early guilty plea to a shoulder charge on Will Chambers.

South Sydney's Ben Te'o will miss next Friday night's clash with Parramatta, while it was good and bad news for Gold Coast with Greg Bird facing two weeks on the sidelines for a lifting tackle on teammate Nate Myles.

Myles, though, will be free to play this weekend if he takes an early plea to a charge for a clash with Bird later in the game.

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