Goodbye Reni, your chances are finally up

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    Reni Maitua during the NRL Round 10, Penrith Panthers v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks match at Penrith Stadium, Saturday, May 16, 2009. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renne McKay)

    Reni Maitua during the NRL Round 10, Penrith Panthers v Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks match at Penrith Stadium, Saturday, May 16, 2009. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renne McKay)

    Forget the push and shove after a few beers, forget public urination, and forget sex toys: the biggest dickhead this season has to be the Sharks’ Reni Maitua.

    In the past I’ve often felt the need to defend our sporting stars who I have have been victims of a hysterical public and overly judgmental media. But I draw the line at drug cheats.

    Strangely, the Maitua case seems to have been treated as fairly run of the mill, while the headlines scream about shadow boxing CEOs (weird?) and hookers in the change room (even weirder).

    While it’s unlikely to split public opinion, as drugs in sport tends to be one of the strongest motherhood statements around, except from the odd weirdo who watches too much cycling, just how big a clanger Reni Maitua has dropped needs to be mentioned.

    It is worth recalling that many thought the sacking of Maitua from the Bulldogs was actually an error. They are pretty quiet now.

    But once getting the boot, Maitua gave a few interviews where he talked about the need to get a settlement because of all his investments that his money was currently tied up in.

    At the time I chuckled about him having one expensive hangover and how perhaps he should have considered his portfolio before a. having yet another bender b. switching off the alarm.

    But if he is motivated by the retention of a positive yield on his investments, then what sort of advice did he listen to decide to load up on Clenbuterol. It doesn’t sound like the sort Warren Buffet hands out or you get at those swanky business breakfasts.

    But for all the misbehaviour, performance enhancing drugs is probably one that the NRL must truly make a tougher than tough stand on as it eats away at the very core of what sport is all about.

    The gladiatorial nature of sport is attractive because it is man on man, not man against man with half a chemist’s cabinet up his snout.

    And while things like having a wee behind a tree or misbehaving in bar can be linked to poor behaviour in the wider society, you don’t see mums on holiday in Thailand loading up on steroids. Performing enhancing drugs aren’t about letting off steam or high jinx, it is about cheating.

    That’s why if his B-sample is positive, then Maitua should face a life ban from the NRL.

    People might be able to forgive all sorts of things, but the moment they suspect the action they are watching on the field is tainted in any way, it is all over.

    I’ve actually worked with Reni in the past and in all my dealings with him, I must say I always found him to be someone you’d quickly refer to as a “good bloke.”

    He was polite, honest and helpful, apart from being a tremendously naturally gifted footballer.

    But sadly that last phrase shouldn’t be enough to save him from his own fate. It is a bit of tragedy that he should never play NRL again given the redemptive powers of the game.

    But enough is enough and this is an issue no sport can afford to get wrong.

    Goodbye Reni.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • May 22nd 2009 @ 9:24am
      cosmos forever said | May 22nd 2009 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      And life isn’t going to get any better for him judging by who he is turning to for support:

      As for cycling – love to have the debate with you some time about the difference between cycling (which catches cheats) and other sports that don’t…


    • May 22nd 2009 @ 11:12am
      Glen Mahoulis said | May 22nd 2009 @ 11:12am | ! Report

      What are the suggested performance enhancing properties of Clenbuterol? Whichever professor can tell me, I’d like them to test their hypotheses against Reni’s performances for the Sharks and Bulldogs in recent times.

      Regardless, I support punishment for use of banned substances, and if he’s positive, he should be gone for 2 years at least. But it was interesting that all the coverage yesterday was about his irresponsible party lifestyle, and nothing about the drug he used, or any discussion of the nature of his sin.

      I feel he may have been the victim of a bit of slur yesterday. The day before it had been reported the drug was recreational. A day later and with the result known, the Tele especially played up the “drug” in the positive drug test, burying the details, and telling the world what a massive booze/drug fiend he is. They did little to correct the impression that it was a recreational positive.

      I am a Sharks fan and never wanted him signed in the first place. This is a good reason for to get rid of him. The press are again getting carried away with this being another chapter in the player scandal story, with heavy commentary on his party boy status, when it is really a story about an out of form, probably mentally unstable, player taking a body building drug.

      The true story, for anyone who wanted to dig it up, is probably very sad.

    • May 22nd 2009 @ 12:02pm
      Stinger said | May 22nd 2009 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

      If Clenbuterol really is a performance enhancing drug, Reni should be asking for a refund

    • May 22nd 2009 @ 12:40pm
      Brett McKay said | May 22nd 2009 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

      Agree Steve. Generally, there’s an element of “wrong place, wrong time” when it comes to footballers’ indescretions (eg, Mason this week – but certainly not the 2002 Sharks), as they have no control over where or when a camera will be pulled out to snap them doing whatever it is they’re doing.

      But it’s hard to have much sympathy for Maitua here. I’m happy to wait for the B sample before casting my stone, but this was a conscious decision by a professional athlete. Dumb….

    • Roar Guru

      May 22nd 2009 @ 5:49pm
      Steve Kaless said | May 22nd 2009 @ 5:49pm | ! Report


      I agree that cycling does a lot to try and clean up its sport, however in terms of its fans I find cycling has a much higher proportion of fans compared to other sports than seem happy to defend drug use or see it is an inevitable.


      Yes, this issue should been seen as seperate to the usual “night on the tiles” issues which it does seem to be clumped in with. Certainly a sad end to a career, but it regardless it should be the end.

    • May 22nd 2009 @ 6:13pm
      cosmos forever said | May 22nd 2009 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

      Yeah – I was alluding to cycling’s current position as easy target simply because they have had to put tougher testing in place due to such a poor track record.

      Classic case is operation puerto which led to international headlines about cyclists but there were actually more footballers and athletes in the list than cyclists.

      I’m a cycling tragic but in no way defensive of the drug culture (though there is a very interesting post that could be written about how cycling’s drug-culture actually pre-dates the concept of performance enhancing and that the cyclists were working class boys who needed to win to survive).

      Anyway – your post wasn’t about cycling! I agree many cycling fans try and defend the indefensible – which is what any performance enhancing drug taking is – in any sport.

      And in Rugby League, he simply should go if proven to have taken the drugs, and not be allowed back.

      Now – I’m off to the Celtic Crusaders website. I’m in Wales in a month and I’m gonna catch me some league action starring a bevy of former Raiders!

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