Sex tape issue 'widespread' in Australia rugby league: Panthers boss

Sydney (AFP) –


The shattered boss of embattled Australian rugby league side Penrith Panthers has warned a sex tape scandal plaguing his club is not isolated, with the scourge "widespread" across the sport.

Penrith has been rocked over the past few days by the emergence of lurid videos on social media allegedly featuring its players, overshadowing their build-up to the new National Rugby League season, which kicks off in barely a week.

Young playmaker Tyrone May was charged by police on Tuesday for allegedly filming and sharing images of sexual acts with two separate women on different occasions without their knowledge.

He became the third player in a week to be suspended indefinitely under a stringent new regime against NRL stars accused of serious crimes introduced after a spate of off-field incidents.

Previously, they could continue playing while they awaited the outcome of their court cases.

Panthers boss Phil Gould, a former Penrith captain and NSW State of Origin-winning coach, said he believed the sex-tape issues haunting his squad were not isolated.

"It's extremely widespread (across the game), and talking to people in circles who deal with this every day... we're dealing with this in all walks of life," he told the Nine Network late Tuesday.

"The real worrying thing is this is conditioned into kids in the schools. This age of mobile phones and cameras, it is commonplace."

Last week, Canterbury Bulldogs star Dylan Napa was fined 10 percent of his 2019 salary for appearing in several sex tapes.

According to the NRL's official news site, Penrith are bracing for the potential release of more videos.

Asked if he was disappointed in his playing group, Gould replied: "I think that, at the bare minimum, is how I feel at the moment.

"We have a very strong club, and I'm shattered that this has happened to our club but we'll get through it," he added.

The Panthers kick off their season against the Parramatta Eels on March 17.