If a club doctor breaches concussion rules or a coach slams a referee at a post-match press conference, clubs – not individuals – are hit in the hip pocket.
The integrity unit is understood to have compared Walker’s incident with Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s Bali brawl to help it arrive at the penalty.
Like Asofa-Solomona, Walker was never charged by police after rushing to the defence of someone in need – on this occasion his cousin who was in the fight and had lost his sister to suicide a few days earlier. But it was caught on camera and was a bad look for the code.
Because Walker’s flying kick was less aggressive and confronting to watch, he received a lesser penalty than Asofa-Solomona’s three-Test ban.
The loss of Walker is a huge blow to Souths, whose first two matches back for the revised competition are against heavyweights the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne.
Walker’s absence will pave the way for Troy Dargan to make his debut at five-eighth against the Bunnies’ most-loathed rivals next Friday night.
Dargan was lured from the Broncos by Bennett and impressed over the summer. He played in the 2014 Australian Schoolboys team alongside Latrell Mitchell.
Souths were hoping for better news late Friday that centre James Roberts would be cleared by biosecurity experts to resume training after leaving a rehabilitation facility this week. He was treated for depression and anxiety.
Souths said they would take the allocated five days to consider their position before responding to the proposed breach notice. Walker also has that option.
The NRL also confirmed fines for Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Tyronne Roberts-Davis would be upheld after they breached social-distancing laws while camping on the NSW north coast.
Earlier, Bunnies back-rower Ethan Lowe praised Roberts for seeking help. “I’ve only heard from what a few of the boys have spoken to him about but, from all reports, he’s in a good space mentally, which is really good for him,” he said.
As for Walker’s fight, Lowe said: “It’s something that he’s not proud of, and he’s remorseful for everything that’s happened.
“You’ve just got to realise that we’re sort of on show 24/7 nowadays with camera phones and all that sort of stuff. So I think you really have to have the right people around you when you are on nights out … [people to] help you and protect you from those sort of situations.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.