Canberra Raiders winger Sandor Earl insists there is no bad blood between the playing group and Josh Dugan, but has backed the club's tough stance to sack the wayward fullback.
One of Dugan's closest friends at the club, Earl has contacted him to check on his welfare after his contract was torn up on Thursday for continued breaches of team policy.
Police were called to a noise disturbance at a Nicholls home on Monday, which Earl rents with teammates Blake Ferguson and Jack Wighton, but Earl wasn't present.
Ferguson has been stood down and fined $10,000 after he and Dugan posted pictures on Instagram of them drinking on the roof.
Most players are yet to have any contact with Dugan after he skipped training on Monday, with Earl one of the few exceptions.
"I've spoken to him just to see that he's all right, he has to sort out his own stuff and go about his business," Earl said.
"The club has dealt with it well and appropriately, and I think he and all the players understand it. There's no bad blood between anyone, and hopefully things all work out for Duges."
The 23-year-old leapt to the defence of Dugan when asked if he's actions were disrespectful to the team.
"I definitely wouldn't say he's selfish, it's just an unfortunate set of circumstances and a few incidents that have gone wrong," Earl said.
"He [Dugan] is obviously disappointed. If he can get anything out of it he just wants the playing group to hopefully understand he's not 'dogging' them.
"It's hard for me to comment on what he's going through, but hopefully it works out for him and we can move forward as a club and a team.
"What went down wasn't ideal, but I give props to Don and Dave [Furner, Raiders chief executive and coach] on how they handled it."
Earl said he has spoken to his housemate and close friend Ferguson on the situation, and is confident he is serious about turning his off-field behaviour around.
"Blake's doing everything he can to do right by the team, as long as he keeps on that path I'm sure he'll be fine," he said.
Earl has developed a potent right edge combination with centre Ferguson, but will now link with Wighton on Sunday.
Wighton will play his first NRL at right centre, a prospect Earl is looking forward to.
"He's an amazing talent and I'm excited to play with him," Earl said.
"It's definitely not a distraction, we've got great replacements so we're pretty lucky."
Earl also criticised his former Panthers teammates for calling Dugan 'soft' during Penrith's 32-10 win last Sunday.
He posted on his Twitter account on Thursday "Certain reports commenting on Dugzz and players toughness etc make comment when you have played the game!!"
"I think to call anyone soft unless you really know what they're going through is fairly out of line," he said.
Wighton made his first grade debut in Canberra's round two win on the Gold Coast last year, earning the nickname 'Jumping Jack' for his acrobatic leap which set up a Jarrod Croker try. He has fond memories of Queensland having also played for the Indigenous All Stars at Brisbane in February. "It was unbelievable to play with some of the best players in the world," he said.
The story No bad blood between Dugan and the players, reveals Earl first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.