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Disgraced Sydney Roosters captain suspended

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The Sydney Roosters have stood down skipper Mitchell Pearce after he was filmed sexually assaulting a woman and simulating a lewd act with a dog during drunken Australia Day celebrations.

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The club today issued a statement which said: “The club wishes to advise that Mitchell Pearce has been stood down from all training commitments until the club concludes its internal investigation.”

“The club continues to work closely with the NRL Integrity Unit and will be making no further comment at this time.”

An intoxicated Pearce can be seen in a video shown by the Nine Network’s A Current Affair forcing an unwanted kiss on a female, who rejects his advances and clearly states “I am a lesbian,” before he kisses her.

Pearce then turns his attention to the woman’s dog, announcing: “I’ll f*** that dog, I don’t give a f***, I don’t have a sexuality.”

Pearce, who was shirtless but wearing shorts, is then seen to simulate sex with the dog.

The woman tells him to stop but Pearce continues to simulate sex with the animal before the woman takes the dog away and tells him to leave.

Pearce again states what he would like to do to the animal, before the woman suggests Pearce had also urinated on her couch.

The Sydney playmaker is reportedly to be stripped of his captaincy and fined up to $50,000 by his club, with the NRL also likely to impose at least a six-month suspension.

The NSW State of Origin player is also expected to be barred from travelling to England next month for the World Club challenge and abide by a booze ban.

Former NRL bad boy Mark Geyer called for Pearce to be stood aside from the NRL for a year, telling Triple M: “He needs to be suspended for 12 months, get a real job away from football and undergo both counselling and rehab.”

“He needs to be taken out of the system that he joined as a kid to appreciate what he’s got,” Geyer said.

“He is obviously powerless when affected by alcohol and cannot control his behaviour… Pearce needs help and needs to be as far away from footy as possible.”

Former Newcastle and Cronulla star Matthew Johns, who was embroiled in a 2002 group sex scandal in New Zealand, agreed with Geyer and said Pearce’s on-field achievements would now be overshadowed.

“The most difficult thing for Mitchell is the fact that what it does to your loved ones, the embarrassment it causes your loved ones,” Johns said.

Former Roosters forward Jimmy Smith said he believed the club was left with no choice but to sack Pearce.

“To be honest it’s not the crime of the century [but] in saying that, as a captain of an NRL club it is completely unacceptable,” he told Fox Sports News.

“As a result of that I think the Roosters are left with very little option.”

Smith said Pearce’s chances of being picked up by an English Super League club or a European or Japanese rugby union outfit could be limited.

“Something like what Mitchell has done would be considered by them to be quite unsavoury,” Smith said.

“It really limits what he can do in the future.”

Parramatta legend Peter Sterling said Pearce would pay for his transgressions.

“This will be deemed to have brought the game into disrepute,” Sterling said.

“You have to ask yourself how many times is that going to be abided and, when you get to this stage, how heavy do the NRL and the Roosters come down on him?”

This is not the first time Pearce has found himself in trouble because of issues with alcohol.

In 2014, he was dropped by NSW and fined $20,000 by the Roosters after a nightclub incident in Kings Cross where a female patron complained about his advances and he was asked to leave the venue.

After that incident, he went on a self-imposed alcohol ban and was named the Roosters captain the next year as well as earning back his NSW Blues jersey.

The latest episode casts a shadow over his footballing future, especially in the wake of Todd Carney’s banishment from the NRL for an alcohol-fuelled incident in 2014 at a Cronulla night spot.

In 2010, Canberra released representative centre Joel Monaghan after a lewd act with an animal during the Raiders’ Mad Monday celebrations.

-AAP

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