Gower 'has case to answer'
Penrith skipper Craig Gower faces suspension or a substantial fine after the Panthers board today decided he had a "case to answer" over allegations that arose from a Sunshine Coast charity event.
The Panthers board today discussed Penrith football manager Mick Leary's report on claims that Gower groped Balmain great Wayne Pearce's 17-year-old daughter Tatum at last week's Jack Newton Celebrity Golf Classic after-party.
Gower was also accused of chasing Pearce's 16-year-old son Mitchell with a bottle at the Classic held at Twin Waters Resort.
Penrith football club chairman Barry Walsh said today Gower would be called before the board on January 4.
"The board ... today held a preliminary meeting to discuss a report from our general manager Michael Leary into allegations about Craig Gower's behaviour at a recent golf tournament on the Sunshine Coast," Walsh said in a statement.
"The report is the result of a thorough investigation carried out by Michael Leary and other Penrith staff on the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere.
"We decided today that Craig Gower has a case to answer and he will be called to a meeting of the board at which he will be given the opportunity to do so."
Gower was also alleged to have had arguments with several guests, damaged a golf cart, held a butter knife to the throat of a Sydney radio personality and walked naked around the Twin Waters Resort.
Gower this week finally responded to the allegations with a one sentence statement.
"With regard to an incident at Twin Waters last Monday, December 19, to the extent that I have caused the Pearce family any discomfort, I unreservedly apologise," he said.
But Panthers chief executive Glenn Matthews said Gower faced a fine of up to a quarter of his annual salary - about $100,000 - or suspension if allegations were proved correct.
But Matthews said talk that Gower's contract would be torn up were "way off the mark".
Walsh said Gower would be notified in writing of the meeting.
"According to the terms of his contract with the club and the NRL, he must be given notice of that meeting in writing," he said.
"The meeting has been set down to take place at Panthers at 4pm on Wednesday, January 4.
"After that meeting the board will be in a position to decide on the next step.
"Obviously, nobody from Panthers can say anything further about this matter until that meeting has taken place."
Pearce yesterday told AAP that he had accepted Gower's "unreserved" apology and ruled out taking any action.
"I accept his apology and that is all I am saying basically," he told AAP.
"I've got no comment on anything else and that has been my stance all along so I am not starting now.
"The only people I have spoken to are Penrith and that's it."
Leary handed in his report to Walsh yesterday.
Leary and operations chief Peter Mulholland completed the investigation after visiting the Maroochydore resort that hosted the event and holding interviews with event guests including Dawn Fraser.
The swimming great claimed she had consoled Tatum and witnessed Gower chasing Mitchell around a table at the after-party.
As usual where there is smoke there is fire. What a dickhead gower is.