Wellington - New Zealand dropped stars Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor from their Rugby League World Cup squad Monday after their alleged involvement in a drug incident.
Coach David Kidwell said the pair had no place at this year's tournament after allegedly being caught trying to buy cocaine outside a Canberra nightclub after losing a Test match to Australia on Friday.
Separately the Sydney Roosters indefinitely suspended New Zealand centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall who was charged with drug possession last week, pending an internal investigation.
The scandals are among a blizzard of drug allegations that have put rugby league authorities in Australia and New Zealand on the defensive.
Kidwell said Bromwich and Proctor's axing showed "no one is bigger than the team".
"I can’t express my disappointment enough in their actions in the early hours of Saturday morning," he said.
"We have values to uphold, they have broken my trust, their team-mates' trust and the trust of the New Zealand public."
The Rugby League World Cup will be held from late October in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Bromwich had already announced he would step down as New Zealand Test captain, with his Melbourne Storm NRL club banning him for two NRL matches and dropping him from its leadership group.
Proctor has relinquished his role as Gold Coast Titans co-captain and issued a statement saying he was "extremely embarrassed and sorry" for his actions.
Australian media reported on Monday that Canberra police were still considering whether to charge the pair.
In another narcotics-related scandal Cronulla Sharks club chairman
Damian Keogh stepped aside following his arrest late Friday for alleged