Locke dropped on form, not probe - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Locke dropped on form, not probe

By Tamara McLean, AAP New Zealand Correspondent 08/04/2011 04:36:17 PM Comments (0)

The Warriors say rising star Kevin Locke's demotion from Saturday's NRL match is unrelated to a sex assault investigation.

The Auckland-based club revealed on Friday that 22-year-old Locke was to be interviewed by New Zealand police over a sex assault allegation, with Locke strenuously denying any wrongdoing.

Having originally been named on the Warriors' bench to face the Sydney Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, Locke will instead turn out for the club's feeder side Auckland Vulcans in the curtain-raiser.

The club said the decision to demote Locke had been made on Wednesday evening and was purely a strategic move, with coach Ivan Cleary recalling Lance Hohaia after he had overcome a minor knee complaint.

"Nothing's changed, he (Locke) is playing," a Warriors spokesperson said.

"He's not stood down. He'll be out on the field tomorrow but just playing at 3pm (1pm AEST).

"Ivan wanted to bring Lance back into the Warriors but was still worried about whether he was injured so he waited and waited and found out on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning that he was fit to play.

"On Wednesday he ran with the Warriors and that meant that Kevin went back to the Vulcans."

Locke's lawyer John Haigh QC had told the club his client wanted his name published in relation to the police investigation to avoid speculation.

"He (Haigh) said Locke also wanted to make it clear he had done nothing wrong, no charges had been laid and he is co-operating fully with police," the club said in a statement.

Haigh said on Friday: "He is in the process of responding to an inquiry the police have instigated into an incident in the inner city.

"He has committed no offence."

The lawyer would not elaborate on the nature of the complaint.

However, according to reports in the New Zealand Herald, the incident is understood to have occurred in central Auckland in the past fortnight.

The player and complainant met while she was out with friends at a city bar and the pair met up again hours later.

The alleged incident in question took place in his car.

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