Former Bulldogs player accuses club of “unlawful corporal punishment”

Julian Miller
By: Julian Miller
25/04/2024
News
BettingTop10 News
A former player has sued Bulldogs for $4 million

Twenty-two-year-old Jackson Topine has accused Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs of using “unlawful corporal punishment” and inflicting “psychiatric injury” on him in a new lawsuit.  

News Insights

  • Former Bulldogs player Jackson Topine has sued Bulldogs for using “unlawful corporal punishment.”
  • The bombshell lawsuit says Topine had to wrestle “30 to 35” players as punishment.
  • Topine is suing Bulldogs for $4 million.
  • Critics say Topine’s lawsuit could “open a can of worms”

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been sued in a bombshell new lawsuit by former player Jackson Topine. The 22-year-old alleges that the NRL club used “unlawful corporal punishment” to punish the player and that, as a result, he suffered “psychiatric injury” and “physical and mental impairment.” 

Bulldogs sued for $4 million 

The Australian revealed on Wednesday that the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are being sued by former player Jackson Topine. According to this bombshell report, the 22-year-old Kiwi has accused the NRL club of “deprivation of liberty” and “unlawful corporal punishment.” 
 
Topine says he was forced to wrestle “30 to 35” teammates as punishment for being late to training. His lawyers claim this punishment constituted detainment as well as “assault” and “battery” and “humiliation.” Bulldogs’ head trainer, Travis Touma, has been accused as being the main perpetrator of these abuses.  
 
As “one of the youngest players” in the squad,” Topline says that this alleged abuse has caused him “psychiatric injury” and “physical and mental impairment.” Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that his Bulldogs’ contract was illegally terminated  as a result of this treatment.  
 
 Topine is suing Bulldogs for $4 million. The complaint has been brought before the NSW Supreme Court.  

Rumours brought into the light 

This scandal has been described as the biggest scandal in the NRL since the Coffs Harbour gang rape case over two decades ago. Like in that case, rumours of a scandal had been bubbling for months.  
 
According to The Australian, rumours about the incident at the heart of Topine’s lawsuit have lingered over the club for almost a year. Reportedly, in July 2023, an unnamed player withdrew himself from Bulldogs training after being forced to wrestle at least 12 teammates for a few minutes. We now know that this player was Topine.  

Bulldogs refused to comment on these rumours specifically. However, they did say “that there are a number of allegations that we categorically deny,” without specifying which allegations they deny.  

Critics hit out at Topine 

Back in July of last year when reports first broke of an unnamed player withdrawing from Bulldogs training, a number of former players accused the player of being “soft.” Now that Topine has been named, he has received even more pushback.  
 
Former NRL star Braith Anasta called Jackson Topine’s new lawsuit “crazy,” and warned that it could “open a can of worms” that the NRL would not be able to recover from. According to Anasta, the type of punishment used to discipline Topine are common at NRL clubs, not just Bulldogs.  
 
My understanding is he’s gone to training, he’s rocked up late and therefore got penalties,” Anasta said simply this week, “The Canterbury Bulldogs were in a wrestling session so those penalties turned into wrestling. 
 
That is something that happens on the weekly. If you are late and you’ve let your team down, there is a punishment, we all know that. Every player knows that. Sometimes it’s not actually the player that gets punished. They punish the rest of the team to show that player that you’ve let the team down.” 
 
Anasta went as far as to say that “It’s so common. I’m shocked by it,” and that “70 per cent of the NRL could make a similar complaint if they wanted to.” 

It’s unclear whether the NSW Supreme Court shares Anasta’s viewpoint. If they don’t, and they side with Topine, this lawsuit could lead to wide-scale change in how punishments are dealt out among NRL clubs.  

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