Startling news of two more Kiwi sports stars behaving badly across the ditch prompted swift and extensive criticism in the media. But wider issues of drugs in sport were kicked into touch.
News that two players from the Kiwis team thrashed by Australia last weekend had been caught up in an apparent drug bust in Canberra came just two days after a former Kiwi player had been charged with possession of cocaine in Sydney.
The news about Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor went straight to the top of news bulletins last weekend. It lead both main 6 pm TV news shows on Saturday and Sunday and you couldn't miss it in all the Sunday papers.
"Doping, drinking and violence: is this a code in crisis?" asked the front page of the Herald on Sunday, though in the sports section columnist Michael Burgess reckoned rugby league would soon bounce back - as it has from other widely-reported episodes of misconduct in the past, he pointed out calmly.
Sunday News put Jesse Bromwich on its front page under the headline "Coke Captain," even though neither he nor Kevin Proctor had been charged with a drug offence and neither player actually admitted taking cocaine.
By Sunday, other media were careful not to mention the class-A drug.
Coach David Kidwell told the media they were good men who made one bad decision. He wanted them back in the fold for the upcoming World Cup.
But many in the media didn't like that.
Newstalk ZB’s Leighton Smith called for both men to be banned and sacked on Monday, and he insisted coach David Kidwell should lose his job too because it happened on his watch.
With the court of public opinion swinging behind a ban, NZRL and coach Kidwell moved to make that happen on Tuesday.That put the sorry saga back at the top of the news again.
Former Kiwis coach Graham Lowe told RNZ's Checkpoint the ban was “ terrific news,” while Ray Warren - known as the 'Voice of League' in Australia - called for a bit of perspective:
"Should a footballer pay a higher penalty than an apprentice plumber?,” he asked.
Shortly after that on TV3, The Project made the point that another drug played a role in the two Kiwis making a very bad decision in Canberra last weekend: alcohol.
The Project explored that - just briefly - with the minister of both Health and Sport Jonathan Coleman, who insisted three times it was nothing to do with 'big booze' sponsoring sportsmen.
Three times also the minister called the players “two idiots who took cocaine,” though the pair had not been charged with that offence.
Dr Coleman said dropping them from the Kiwis was the least the NZRL could do to punish them.
On Twitter, he had also claimed the controversy could discourage children from taking up the sport, though he never said that about rugby union when former All Blacks Ali Williams and Dan Carter also recently broke the law offshore with drugs and booze respectively.
Go ahead caller
In talkback land, opinion was quite divided about the scandal.
On Newstalk ZB, afternoon host Mark Dye said cocaine use was no secret to those in the media and even though he was a big league fan, he was not "up in arms".
Also “not up in arms” was ZB’s nighttime guy Marcus Lush, who told listeners drink-driving rugby players and even those found guilty of domestic abuse were still able to represent New Zealand.