Dogs' Maitua in drink-driving scandal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dogs' Maitua in drink-driving scandal

By Steve Jancetic 27/04/2006 07:09:28 PM Comments (0)

The reputation of the Bulldogs copped another battering with representative utility Reni Maitua dumped to Premier League after being charged with a high-range drink driving offence on Anzac Day.

Maitua, a P-plater, was charged with high level drink driving after returning a blood-alcohol reading of 0.165 when pulled over for a random breath test at Gerrale street in Cronulla at 11.55pm on Tuesday.

The reading is more than three times the legal limit for a fully licensed driver, but the limit for P-platers is zero.

The 23-year-old had his licence suspended immediately and was told to appear in Sutherland Local Court on May 18.

"What I've done is totally irresponsible and I'm not making any excuses for what I've done," Maitua said.

"I've got to accept any consequences that may come out from this, I realise that I'm a role model to kids and to any young people, I've stuffed up.

"It was just Anzac Day, had a few drinks, played a bit of two-up and made the silly decision to get behind the wheel.

"I had a few drinks with teammates at the time and they weren't aware that I was going to drive a car.

"They were just enjoying a few beers, I probably had a few too many."

It is the second time this season Maitua has been dumped to Premier League for disciplinary reasons after turning up late to a training session ahead of the club's round four bye, and he is the second high-profile Bulldog to be charged for drink driving in recent times.

New Zealand international Sonny Bill Williams had his licence suspended for five months after being found guilty of driving under the influence in August last year.

It continues a horror period of bad publicity for the club after crowd trouble marred their round two encounter against Wests Tigers, forcing riot police to be deployed for their following match in Newcastle.

To make matters worse for Maitua and the Bulldogs, the club only found out about the charge when informed by a Sydney radio station on Thursday morning.

"I came to the club today after being called into the office, they weren't aware, unfortunately they got wind of it first before I could say something to them," Maitua said.

"It was definitely something I was going to do this afternoon after training.

"They were upset, I thought I was doing the right thing but obviously I did the wrong thing."

Bulldogs chief executive Malcolm Noad said the club would continue investigations before deciding on any further punishment.

"We're extremely disappointed in Reni," Noad said.

"The club has made it very clear to all players that we do not condone irresponsible drinking, let alone driving under the influence of alcohol."

The incident couldn't have come at a worse time for Maitua, who's contract is up at the end of the season.

The Bulldogs have suspended talks indefinitely, with his manager Gavin Orr admitting the drink-driving charge could affect his future at the club.

"It's not great, he needs to get back on the field and obviously being dropped to reserve grade doesn't help," Orr said.

"But, is Reni a very talented footballer - yes.

"Has he made a mistake today - yes.

"He needs to come back from it and I'm sure he will."

Ben Roberts comes into the side to replace Maitua for Sunday's clash against the New Zealand Warriors, while Maitua will take on a North Sydney side boasting former Melbourne international Scott Hill at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.

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