Panthers’ four-try debutant stood down for biosecurity breach after party and lockjaw hospital visit

Charlie Staines - who scored four tries on debut for the Panthers against the Sharks - has been stood down for a breach of the NRL's Covid-19 biosecurity regulations. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

Charlie Staines – the Panthers teenager whose four-try debut almost led to a pub being drunk dry in his rural hometown – has been stood down for a “naive’’ Covid-19 biosecurity rules breach.

The 19-year-old centre grabbed a quartet of tries in the Sharks’ big win over the Panthers last Saturday – to the cost of the publican at Forbes’ Post Office Hotel who had promised his 50 patrons a free beer for every Staines score.

Elevated to the starting lineup after an injury to Kiwis test star Dean Whare, Staines shredded the Sharks’ defence for five clean line breaks during Penrith’s 56-24 win over Shaun Johnson’s Cronulla club.

But, any chance of the former Forbes Magpies junior getting a repeat run may have been dashed after hosting a party for 10 family and friends.

The Penrith Panthers informed the NRL on Monday of a breach of NRL biosecurity protocols by Staines.

It said following Saturday night’s game against Cronulla, Staines hosted 10 visitors at his place of residence. The visitors included his parents, his sister, the parents of his partner and four friends.

Current NRL biosecurity protocols stipulate players can host up to 10 visitors at their home each day, however guests must attend in groups of no more than five.

The Panthers statement said: “In the early hours of Sunday morning Staines suffered a recurrence of lockjaw, which is a condition he is unfortunately familiar with and last suffered during pre-season.

“At approximately 2.30am on Sunday, Staines attended the emergency department at Nepean Hospital for treatment before being released some time later.

Panthers staff were first informed of the hospital visit on Sunday. The club later learned of the number of visitors that had attended Staines’ place of residence.

Staines has been stood down from all duties.

“Charlie has been extremely naive on this occasion and inadvertently breached the protocols that are in place to protect the game,” Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher said.

“His misunderstanding of the specifics of the guidelines can not be overlooked, nor can his failure to contact the club before seeking medical treatment for his jaw condition.

“The club and Charlie will now work closely with the NRL to ensure all necessary steps are taken to rectify the situation.”

Meanwhile, Canterbury centre Jake Averillo has been stood down while he and his family wait for Covid-19 test results after his parents dined at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, which had recently had a cluster of positive coronavirus cases.

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