By Jeff Wall, Crikey rugby league writer:

The John Hopoate saga/affair/disgrace has obscured a very worrying development so early in the 2005 NRL premiership.

While Hopoate received an appropriate penalty from the judiciary this week, effectively ending a troubled and troubling career, there has been limited coverage given to the fact that SEVEN first grade NRL players were suspended after taking early guilty pleas after round two of the premiership. The weekly NRL judiciary report, accessible on the NRL website here, makes interesting, and for coaches and officials worrying, reading.

More on this issue and a preview of this weekend’s games on the Crikey website here.