Ex Group 2 player refused bail

A MAN who was once prominent as a Group 2 rugby league club and representative player and premiership-winning coach has been refused bail in a Sydney court after being one of numerous people charged this week with drug offences.

Following investigations as part of Operation Memory, Matthew Layton Jones, 38 – also known as ‘George’ Jones – appeared in Central Local Court but did not lodge a plea and was remanded to reappear via audio-visual link on February 3 next year.

He was charged with two counts of supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and one count of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

His 72-year-old mother was also charged with drug offences in Port Macquarie Local Court but was released on bail to reappear on January 21.

She will then face charges of supply and possession of a prohibited drug.

Mr Jones is believed to have commenced his career as a Bellingen junior while based in Dorrigo where his family were also prominent in boxing circles.

During the 1990s while playing with Wauchope Blues during their eight-year participation in Group 2, he was regarded one of the best forwards in the league and was awarded representative honours.

He then switched to the Hastings League and won several premierships as a coach, as well as lower grade titles with Port Macquarie Sharks while retaining links with the touch football, boxing and martial arts fraternity.

A close family friend said he had been shocked by the news.

“George was supposed to play in the State Cup on the weekend and when he didn’t arrive, we worried that something was wrong,” he said.

“I contacted his wife and she confirmed the news and this has been totally unexpected.”

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