It sparked one of the team tries of the Nines tournament.
Parramatta have flown football manager Mark O’Neill and a wellbeing staff member to Fiji to provide support to Maika Sivo while facing indecent assault charges, with hopes it will also clarify communication between the club and the Pacific country’s legal system.
O’Neill and an additional staff member from the wellbeing team flew to Sivo’s side on New Year’s Day as the star winger faces a charge of indecent assault following an alleged incident at a Fijian resort.
The initial charge of indecent annoyance was upgraded to indecent assault without notice after Sivo spent the night in a cell on Sunday, which caused confusion for Parramatta officials.
Under the original charge it was thought he would be free to return to training and face a potential fine.
The 26-year-old was granted bail but is unable to return to Australia with the court putting a travel ban in place under the new charge.
It’s believed Sivo’s legal representative is attempting to have the charge downgraded before he is due to face Nadi Magistrates Court to enter a plea on January 7.
It’s a complex legal matter and the club is hopeful of sorting through some of the confusion with O’Neill and the fellow staff member on hand to help support Maika, who is also surrounded by his family.
The club is also hopeful a travel ban will be lifted to enable him to return to Australia to begin NRL pre-season training with the Eels, which began on Thursday.
Sivo was spending Boxing Day with family at Wyndham Resort on Denarau Island when he is alleged to have tugged a waitress’ dress.
The 26-year-old has told the club he was attempting to get her attention and she misinterpreted it as a sexual advance.
It’s understood the waitress slapped Sivo’s hand and was told to go home by restaurant management.
It’s believed the victim made the complaint to Fijian police believing she had been fired.
“Maika and the club are respectful of Fijian law and we continue to offer our full cooperation with local law enforcement authorities,” said a club statement.
“The Eels will continue to liaise with the NRL Integrity Unit and will provide a further update to stakeholders as situation progresses.”