Jackson Topine: Footy star hits his team with $4million lawsuit for allegedly making 35 of his teammates ‘assault’ him in shocking punishment for a minor breach of club rules

Ex-Bulldogs star Jackson Topine has hit the NRL club with a $4 million lawsuit, claiming he was assaulted by up to 35 of his teammates and deprived of his liberty in a brutal punishment last July year was distributed.

The 22-year-old accuses the team of hitting him with ‘unlawful corporal punishment’ when he was ‘detained’ in a Sydney gym and made to wrestle 30 to 35 of his fellow Bulldogs as punishment for being eight to 10 minutes late used to be. train.

His lawsuit alleges that the disciplinary actions ordered by head coach Travis Touma amounted to “assault and battery” and left him with “psychiatric injuries” and “physical and mental disabilities.” News Corp reported.

Jackson Topine (pictured right with girlfriend Holly Leppard) has accused the Bulldogs of ‘assault and battery’ and ‘deprivation of liberty’ after he was allegedly forced to wrestle 35 of his teammates as punishment for being late

The alleged incident in July 2023 left Topine (pictured with Leppard) so physically shattered that he could no longer stand or walk unassisted

The alleged incident in July 2023 left Topine (pictured with Leppard) so physically shattered that he could no longer stand or walk unassisted

The alleged incident on July 18, 2023 saw him wrestle the club’s entire senior team for 30 seconds straight, leading to one Bulldogs star telling the publication: “It wasn’t wrestling, it was humiliation.”

Now the lawsuit claims Touma imposed the punishment on Topine after the players had already completed an intense 90-minute wrestling session.

Touma is accused of refusing to end the wrestling penalty despite Topine showing clear signs of distress and exhaustion, with the court statement stating: “Every player on the Bulldogs roster, who were the plaintiff’s opponents in wrestling matches , had a high degree of fitness. and strength.’

The 22-year-old (pictured playing for the Dogs) was reportedly forced to grab his teammates for 30 seconds at a time, while other players were told not to let up if he showed signs of distress

The 22-year-old (pictured playing for the Dogs) was reportedly forced to grab his teammates for 30 seconds at a time, while other players were told not to let up if he showed signs of distress

The wrestling continued even though other team members pointed out that Topine was suffering and Touma said words along the lines of “don’t let him get up when he’s down, jump on him right away,” the lawsuit alleges.

Touma is also accused of refusing to let other players help the 22-year-old, saying: ‘Don’t congratulate him or help him. He deserved that. He was damn late.”

The young star was so physically exhausted afterward that he could no longer stand or walk without assistance, according to the court affidavit, which also claims he did not know why he was being punished, as he thought he had arrived 20 minutes early had arrived for the session. .

The Bulldogs said the club “will say there are a number of allegations that we categorically deny” in a statement about the legal action.

β€œHowever, the club does have internal policies and procedures in place for employee conduct and a very robust assessment process that we support,” a Bulldogs spokeswoman said.

β€œWe also take player welfare very seriously and place the interests and well-being of our players and staff as our first priority.”

Shortly after the alleged incident, media reports emerged that an unnamed player had to wrestle several players as punishment for arriving late.

Topine (pictured center in a match against the Brisbane Broncos) was a highly rated young talent but has not played rugby league since the alleged incident

Topine (pictured center in a match against the Brisbane Broncos) was a highly rated young talent but has not played rugby league since the alleged incident

Topine’s lawyer Abdul Reslan said the lawsuit would have a major impact on the NRL, telling the publication: “Appropriate protection must be provided to all workplaces, including within the contact sports domain.”

Reports emerged last year about Bulldogs player dissatisfaction with training methods, with former captain Raymond Faitala-Mariner raising it with management before later leaving the club.

At the time, Canterbury general manager Phil Gould supported the tough stance taken by the coaching staff under Cameron Ciraldo, without directly referring to the Topine incident as he was unnamed at the time.

β€œWe’re the worst team in the league right now,” Gould said on the Six Tackles With Gus podcast last August.

‘The coach [Ciraldo] and the staff certainly makes no apologies for the intensity with which they train.”

The former representative star (pictured with Leppard) is demanding $4 million from the club

The former representative star (pictured with Leppard) is demanding $4 million from the club

Ciraldo also said last August that penalties had been handed out during his tenure, with the club desperate to turn things around after the last finals in 2016.

‘Nothing comes without hard work. We have one long day a week and when you get the last massage, you’re probably leaving at 5:30 p.m.,” Ciraldo said at the time.

Topine – who captained the NSW and Australian schoolboy sides and was considered one of the better young talents at the club – has not played rugby league since the alleged punishment.

He played in 16 NRL matches for the Dogs from 2021-2023, scoring one try, and represented the Maori All Stars in 2021.

The Auckland-born forward first joined the Bulldogs in 2018, while playing on a scholarship at East Hills Boys High School in Sydney, and in 2019 he also played for the Australian Schoolboys.