Eels cut Joey loose as drama rolls on
Andrew Johns’ coaching job at NRL club Parramatta is over, another casualty of his racist remarks.
Eels centre Timana Tahu let slip the news at training on Friday morning and the club confirmed the decision in a brief statement on Friday night.
“That’s not my decision to make, it’s the club’s decision and the club made that decision to sack Joey (Johns),” Tahu said.
Johns worked with the Parramatta side every couple of weeks as a coaching consultant.
Johns has also been suspended from his role as a News Ltd columnist but has been backed by his other employers, the Nine Network and radio network Austereo.
His former club Newcastle are seeking further information before deciding on his consultancy role there.
Tahu agreed on Thursday to an offer from Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner Mick Gooda to a mediation session with Johns in the wake of his walkout of the NSW State of Origin side’s camp.
But Tahu returned to training with the Eels declaring his fight against racism in rugby league was a higher priority.
“There’s plenty of other things than just talking it over with Joey,” Tahu told reporters.
“He knows how I feel and there’s more important things to talk about.
“We need to stamp out racism in the game.”
Gooda is expected to explain the process to Johns in the next few days, but early indications are the league great is willing to participate.
No date for any mediation session has yet been set.
Tahu will return to the place where it all began with Johns when Parramatta play the Knights on Monday night at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
Both were part of Newcastle’s 2001 premiership-winning side.
“He’s trained well, he’s keen to play, I’ve spoken to him about it, he wants to play so he will play,” Eels coach Daniel Anderson said.
Anderson said Tahu had not addressed his clubmates about the racism row.
Tahu said it was back to business as usual.
“We’ve got a multicultural club here so it was just like usual, fun, the little digs that I get now and then,” he said.
Meanwhile, the victim of Johns’ comments, Queensland’s Greg Inglis, lent his full support to Tahu’s stance.
“I’m just fed up with it and it’s definitely not fair,” Inglis told Fox Sports.
“We certainly don’t go round making slurs to the Australian public.
“I don’t think racism should be tolerated in any sport.”© AAP 2013