Paul Vaughan, the man at the centre of the NRL’s most infamous Covid-19 breach, has been pictured in Bulldogs colours for the first time.
NRL bad boy Paul Vaughan has strutted his stuff in Bulldogs colours for the first time since the struggling club threw him a lifeline for the 2022 season.
The Dragons showed Vaughan the door in July after he committed two serious Covid-19 breaches in as many seasons.
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Vaughan’s NRL career appeared on life support after the second of those indiscretions — he was banned for eight matches and fined $50,000 after hosting 12 teammates at his Shellharbour home for a barbecue in contravention of the league’s strict biosecurity protocols.
Vaughan was eventually sacked by the Dragons mid-season, but only a matter of weeks later the Bulldogs opted to roll the dice on the 30-year-old, offering him a one-year contract.
Vaughan appeared in the royal blue and white for the first time on Friday.
The former Origin star is heading to Belmore as part of Trent Barrett’s spending spree ahead of his second season at the helm.
Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Tevita Pangai Jr., Matt Dufty, Brent Naden and John Asiata are among those who will join Vaughan at Bulldogs pre-season training from next month.
In his time away from the NRL, Vaughan has been maintaining his fitness at the facilities owned by the Shellharbour Sharks close to his home. He said he was looking forward to returning to the fray with the Bulldogs after a “challenging” end to his year.
“It’s been a bit of an interesting year but I’m just excited to get stuck in and get going again,” he said.
“For me, it’s about repaying the club for putting faith in me. I’m pretty big on that. I’m coming up here for an opportunity and a challenge is something I think I need.
“That’s one thing that will drive me, repaying the faith to everyone (at the club) and proving that I’ve still got a lot of footy in me.
“The best thing I can do is come here and put everything on the table, train hard and earn the respect and trust of the boys.”
Barrett will be counting on Vaughan and the other new recruits to help his side improve on its last-placed finish in 2021.
“Paul is someone who will bring both ability and experience to our young pack for next season,” Barrett said after the club announced Vaughan’s signing in late July.
“Everyone knows what a damaging ball runner he is and the impact that he can have on a game, and we believe that we will be able to harness that moving forward.
“I know that Paul is excited about the opportunity to come and join us, and we believe that he still has a great deal to offer in the game.
“We look forward to seeing Paul run out in the blue and white next year and welcome him and his family to the club.”