24 Sep 2015

NRL players out of intensive care

5:52 pm on 24 September 2015

South Sydney National Rugby League players Aaron Gray and Dylan Walker have been moved out of intensive care and into a private ward as their conditions continue to improve.

The health of the South Sydney duo has improved considerably since being taken to hospital early on Tuesday morning after overdosing on prescription medicine.

South Sydney Rabbitohs' Dylan Walker being tackled by New Zealand Warriors' wing Manu Vatuvei.

South Sydney Rabbitohs' Dylan Walker being tackled by New Zealand Warriors' wing Manu Vatuvei. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The players still have to pass a number of tests before they will be released from St Vincent's hospital in Sydney, after they took too much pain-killing medication.

Rabbitohs chief executive John Lee said the situation for Gray, in particular, had been dire.

Both players had surgery last week following the end of the club's season when they lost to the Cronulla Sharks during the top eight finals.

The police in Australia are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The New South Wales Ambulance service confirmed both players were found in a critical condition at Gray's apartment in Roseberry.

It has been reported that Walker had an adverse reaction to painkilling drugs Oxycodone and Tramadol after undergoing post-season surgery last week while it was unclear how Gray came to be unwell.

The NRL chief executive Dave Smith said the league's integrity unit is launching its own inquiry into the incident, but the players' welfare was of their utmost concern.

Smith said that Souths had called the integrity unit.

"(Integrity Unit chief) Nick Weeks is aware what's going on, and of course, the number one priority is the welfare of these two young men.

"Any questions that need to be asked will be asked should they need to be."

Smith was careful not to link Tuesday's incident to illicit drugs, but re-emphasised the NRL had a strong drugs testing policy.

"There's a very heavy expectation on our players, and we've demonstrated when things go wrong from time to time, there's serious consequences that can affect your playing career," he said.

"First it's about confidential support, second time there are more significant consequences.

"I'm very confident with our policy, both for performance-enhancing and any other form of recreational or prescription drugs."

Walker, 20, played four games for Australia after playing a starring role in the club's breakthrough Premiership win last year.

Gray, 21, made his first grade debut this season and scored seven tries in 12 matches, earning himself a two-year extension at Redfern.

-AAP

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