Back them or don’t: NRL must set a precedent

simon Roar Rookie

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    Phil Gould is about to open Pandora’s box – and it could get ugly.

    Tim Simona is in formal talks with Phil Gould and the Penrith Panthers about a possible return to the NRL one day with the mountain men.

    At this stage, Gould is merely offering the disgraced former Wests Tigers centre a position as a welfare officer. However, he is open to a potential playing future at the club.

    “Regardless of any future opportunity to return to the NRL, Tim is doing his best to make up for his mistakes of the past,” Gould told the Daily Telegraph.

    “He has been quite proactive.

    “Tim approached us about allowing him to be involved in our community and schools programs.”

    It was a dark day for not only Simona and the Wests Tigers but for the league as a whole when the New Zealand born centre was deregistered indefinitely with the NRL for betting on matches, a blatant and inexcusable act of cheating.

    Should a once serial cheater with now-genuine redemption credentials be permitted back to top flight rugby league? My personal opinion is no.

    In saying that, I also vehemently opposed the idea of Russell Packer and Matt Lodge taking to the field after their respective and well-publicized incidents.

    Russell Packer tackled Matt Moylan

    (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

    Packer, however, has impressed the large majority of the rugby league community since the Red V offered him a lifeline in 2016.

    The Wests Tigers skipper has genuinely turned his life around for the better and is reaping the rewards every day under Ivan Cleary.

    Matt Lodge is yet to make the same statement. He and the Broncos have refused any interviews with questions that delve deeper than what he’s expecting from his opposition on the weekend.

    However, Matt Lodge has yet to set a foot wrong and while has not been overly impressive, he has not continued to be a blight on the game.

    Eventually, the NRL integrity unit will need to make a decision on the playing future of Tim Simona.

    Whatever the verdict, it is likely to open a can of worms. Because, at the end of the day, Packer and Lodge both violently assaulted men.

    All Simona did was have a punt.

    And in no way, shape, or form am I condoning the abhorrent behaviour – but if the NRL can justify letting Packer and Lodge back into our beloved game, I’d love to hear what they say about Tim Simona.

    The NRL must set a precedent and I fear they are too weak to do so.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • June 21st 2018 @ 6:13am
      peeko said | June 21st 2018 @ 6:13am | ! Report

      All Simona did was have a punt. – you are joking arent you? he did a lot more than that

      • June 21st 2018 @ 9:13am
        simon said | June 21st 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        He did, but he was sacked and deregistered purely on the grounds of betting on NRL matches.

        • Roar Guru

          June 21st 2018 @ 10:06am
          Nat said | June 21st 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          Betting on his own NRL games 1st try scorer on his opposite number. Defrauding charities. If he was only “betting on NRL matches” then Lodge and Packer just had a ‘drunken scuffle’. I’m all for the bloke redeeming himself and, like both Packer and Lodge, if that starts by working with the community and sorting out his own life then go for it. However, it seems we’ve all jumped onto the ‘he’s pulling n the jersey’ bandwagon long before it’s become a possibility.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 8:12am
      Paul said | June 21st 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      There’s a quote from Greenburg in the attached article at the time Simona was banned, where he made it clear the NRL would most likely not register him to play again any time soon. It would be difficult for Greenburg to change his mind, given this statement.

      More to the point, I can’t see why Penrith is offering him a role as a welfare officer? I would have thought a person in this position should be some sort of role model and Simona’s behaviour to date has been anything but ideal. I don’t doubt he’s remorseful, probably because he has no income like he was making in League. It’s up to Penrith what tehy want to do with this guy but I’m happy he’s not involved with my team.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11815915

      • Roar Guru

        June 21st 2018 @ 9:04am
        Dogs Of War said | June 21st 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        If you can’t see why his story is good for youngsters to hear, your kidding yourself. Many of them need to hear the story of his downfall. How gambling and drugs lead him down this path.

        The young guys coming through generally have never had this much money ever, and it’s quite easy to not understand how easy it is to take it for granted.

        Not sure about being the welfare officer as I think he shouldn’t be rewarded with a full time job. But he could be employed part time by the NRL to talk to all the young guys about his experience like they do with the rookie camps in the NFL where ex players come in and talk about what they did wrong with there money or career.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 9:43am
          kk said | June 21st 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          Top Post,DOW.

        • Roar Guru

          June 21st 2018 @ 10:40am
          Mr X said | June 21st 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          100% right DOW – there’s no point getting an angel in to talk to kids about the dangers of drugs, gambling etc. Tim had lived experience and has unfortunately learned the consequences of his actions and that is more likely to have an impact on kids who may fall down that path.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 3:58pm
          Paul said | June 21st 2018 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

          What downfall has he had?

          There’s talk already about bringing him back to the NRL and Gould has given him a job many would dream of having.

          His message to the teenagers is simple – break the rules, lie about it, bet against your own team and steal from charities; get caught, have a break from the game for a while and still be supported by the NRL, act really sorry and you can get a good job and possibly back into first grade within a few years of doing all these things.

          If you can’t see that, you’re deaf to what teenagers will hear.

    • Roar Guru

      June 21st 2018 @ 8:57am
      BA Sports said | June 21st 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

      By the start of next season Simona will be 27, two years removed from playing any form of Rugby League and five years removed from playing well at the top level. Given the talent at the disposal of the Panthers and strength of their first and lower grade squads, they don’t need him in any way shape or form..

      The only reason Gould would look to pursue this would be if he thought he could publicly embarrass Greenberg in some way.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 4:02pm
        Paul said | June 21st 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

        interesting last point BA. Greenburg has already dug the hole with his comments when Simona was banned from the NRL.

        I can see the scenario: Gould tries to register him, Greenburg sticks to his guns and says no, so Gould goes ballistic in the media because Greenburg “is stopping this fine young man from resuming the game he loves”.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 9:50am
      Diplomatt said | June 21st 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      Possibly trying to avoid a Ryan Tandy type scenario which I think is to be commended.

      • Roar Guru

        June 21st 2018 @ 10:41am
        Mr X said | June 21st 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        100% – while these guys have done things that they most definitely regret, it is so important that the NRL gets behind them and offers support.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 4:03pm
          Paul said | June 21st 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

          interesting last point BA. Greenburg has already dug the hole with his comments when Simona was banned from the NRL.

          I can see the scenario: Gould tries to register him, Greenburg sticks to his guns and says no, so Gould goes ballistic in the media because Greenburg “is stopping this fine young man from resuming the game he loves”.

        • June 21st 2018 @ 4:10pm
          Paul said | June 21st 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          Please don’t take this the wrong way, but why is it so important the NRL offers support?

          If this was any other business, Simona would have been sacked for all the things he did wrong and the only “support’ he might be given are a few phone numbers for drug or alcohol counselling. It’s great the NRL and other sporting codes do this, but I’m not sure why they have to?

          • June 21st 2018 @ 5:07pm
            John said | June 21st 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

            Exactly.

            In any other business, if you did the equivalent of what Simona did, you would be lucky if the business didn’t legal action.

            • June 21st 2018 @ 7:41pm
              John said | June 21st 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

              take*

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:14am
      Kylie Yahl said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

      No doesn’t deserve the same chance as packer packer didn’t steal

    • Roar Rookie

      June 21st 2018 @ 12:39pm
      James Ditchfield said | June 21st 2018 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

      I personally don’t think Simona should be employed by the NRL in any position, let alone by an NRL club. What he did not only broke the law, but breached the game’s code of ethics. If rugby league and those in charge expect people to take them seriously they need to crack down, and hard.

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