Maitua takes senior role at Dogs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Maitua takes senior role at Dogs

By David Beniuk 08/05/2008 09:21:16 AM Comments (0)

Wayward Bulldogs star Reni Maitua has not only recommitted to seeing out his contract with the NRL club, he intends taking a senior role with the side.

Maitua will play his first top grade match for the Dogs since round two, against Penrith on Saturday, after a combination of injury and personal issues sidelined him for six weeks.

The former Test lock has recovered from a rib injury but has also refocused after he was stood down by the club in round three for an alcohol-related issue and sought a release from the remainder of his contract.

"Definitely, I'll be staying with the club and honouring my contract until the end of `09," he told reporters.

The 25-year-old said the constant speculation - which included reports his manager had rung Queensland-based clubs to gauge interest - had taken its toll.

"It's very frustrating. You can only sit back and read that sort of stuff and ignore it," he said.

"Now that I'm back on the field I just want to concentrate on playing footy."

And that means taking on a leadership role at a club which lost several stars - including Willie Mason - in the off-season.

"I know I'm a senior player but I haven't played much footy this year and I'll probably be a bit underdone with fitness," he said.

"I'm not going to expect a man-of-the-match performance. I've been out a long time and I'll be looking just to get good involvement and some good time and build from there so I'm not expecting too much."

Bulldogs boss Todd Greenberg said the club had faith in Maitua recapturing the form which made him a Kangaroo in 2006.

"We offered him everything we can give him to help him on and off the field and we do that with most of our players, but Reni particularly who was going through a bit of a flat spot," Greenberg told AAP.

"We've said to him: `We want to help you on and off the field and we'll do everything we can to make you into the footballer we know you can be, particularly when you got picked for Australia. That's the sort of form we think you can have with the Bulldogs. You've been very loyal to us over a long period of time and we want to make sure that carries on.'"

"I've spoken to him at length as have (coach) Steve Folkes and (incoming coach) Kevin Moore and he's given us his assurance that he's going to do everything he can to play his best football with us and that's all we can ask for.

"Sometimes these young guys have issues that they've got to deal with.

"They're professional athletes but they've also got their own lives and that goes across the whole board of players."

The Bulldogs are encouraging supporters to bring a can of food to Saturday's ANZ Stadium clash to help out the Campsie Salvation Army.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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