More to Maitua axing, suggests NRL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

More to Maitua axing, suggests NRL

By Liam FitzGibbon 04/12/2008 07:39:32 PM Comments (0)

The NRL has suggested there is "significantly more" to the Bulldogs' sacking of Reni Maitua than one last missed training session.

Amidst reports Maitua was involved in a brawl last weekend, the league on Thursday sought to justify its threat to deregister the former Test utility so he could not play with another NRL club in 2009.

That threat had drawn a strong response from the Rugby League Professionals Association, who called it "unfair and unjust" and shadowed the possibility of a legal showdown.

The NRL, though, countered with a statement attempting to explain the tough stance.

"The National Rugby League wishes to highlight the fact that it is yet to receive a final report on all events which led to the decision of the Bulldogs club to terminate the contract of Reni Maitua," the NRL statement read.

"The information the NRL has to date, however, is that there is significantly more to the decision than the player's late arrival at training.

"On the basis of preliminary reports from the Bulldogs, the NRL has indicated that it would be likely to support the club by not registering a contract between the player and another club for the 2009 season."

That step has infuriated the RLPA, who described Maitua as a "decent young man".

"The RLPA is extremely concerned with the Bulldogs request to the NRL not to register an NRL contract for Reni Maitua for season 2009," the players union said in a statement.

"... The RLPA position is that the request Maitua be unable to play in the NRL in 2009 is unfair and unjust."

RLPA boss Matt Rodwell added: "The sacking of Maitua is punishment enough for his indiscretions, with significant loss of income and damage to his reputation.

"In terminating Maitua's contract, the Bulldogs must concede and as a consequence of the termination, that he will be able to play for another NRL Club in 2009 or simply re-instate the player."

Rodwell said Maitua should be allowed the same opportunities as sacked Brisbane players Brett Seymour and Neville Costigan "to find a new NRL Club with a new strong, disciplinary culture and be provided with the opportunity to resurrect his career".

The RLPA also said it had sought legal advice on the matter.

Maitua's manager Sam Ayoub said he doubted his player could be deregistered because he was not guilty of any serious offence.

"There's a lot of talk going on at the moment and some of that is the supposed possibility of deregistration," Ayoub said.

"But I doubt very much that would be the case.

"If you go out and have a drink, is your employer going to ban you and even if they don't, is it going to prevent you from getting a job elsewhere?"

Ayoub said three NRL clubs had approached him about Maitua.

"We're not in a hurry to jump into things right at the moment," Ayoub said.

"We've got a few issues to resolve and then we'll sit down and chat about the future."

The manager was to meet with Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg and coach Kevin Moore on Thursday night before deciding whether Maitua would exercise his right to appeal his sacking within 48 hours.

The NRL said it would continue to support clubs attempting to clean up league's tarnished image off the field.

"The clubs that take hard decisions in the interests of the game need to be supported," its statement read.

Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg did not immediately return AAP's calls.

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