Parramatta will take further measures to address Dylan Brown‘s NRL-imposed suspension for sexual touching without consent before he can return to the Eels‘ lineup. After already missing three games while awaiting the outcome of his case, Brown has been handed a four-game ban and a $40,000 fine (with half suspended) by the NRL. The Eels have until the end of the week to respond to the breach notice, but it is expected that they will accept the punishment and impose additional club-based conditions in the coming days. Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual touching without consent in relation to an incident at The Golden Sheaf Hotel in late May and was given an 18-month Community Correction Order after three other charges were withdrawn by the police. It was revealed during court proceedings that Brown had consumed up to 20 alcoholic drinks on the night of the incident.
Club sources, speaking anonymously due to the pending breach notice response, indicate that the Eels will focus on addressing Brown’s relationship with alcohol. While an outright alcohol ban is unlikely to be proposed, the club will emphasize education and training programs beyond those already mandated by the NRL. Brown expressed his remorse to the victim in a written apology, which was presented during his court case. He issued a subsequent statement accepting full responsibility for his actions. Senior figures at Parramatta consider the offenses as a serious wake-up call for Brown and express concern that any future indiscretions could jeopardize his lucrative Eels contract. The club recognizes that the incident occurred while Brown was intoxicated and is inconsistent with his otherwise positive reputation among fans and his charitable work. Brown also apologised to his teammates at Parramatta and received support from the fans during an Eels members’ day event, where he gifted his boots to a family that had traveled from Newcastle to meet the team.
Teammate and friend Will Penisini acknowledged the NRL‘s punishment and Brown’s remorse, highlighting that Brown understands and regrets letting the team down. He reassured that Brown is diligently working on himself every day. The absence of Brown, as well as Mitchell Moses, captain Clint Gutherson, and Reagan Campbell-Gillard, will pose a challenge for the Eels when they face the Warriors on Saturday. Ryan Matterson will be moved to the halves alongside Daejarn Asi, while Sean Russell will replace Gutherson at the back and Junior Paulo will make his return as prop.
In other news, the Roosters are hoping to bring back Sam Walker and Brandon Smith from injury via the NSW Cup during their NRL teammates’ bye week. Dragons fullback Tyrell Sloan will miss Friday’s game against the Raiders due to a calf strain and will be replaced by Paul Turner.