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'I've served my punishment': Five years after betting ban Simona wants NRL return

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21st December, 2021
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Former Wests Tigers winger Tim Simona says he wants to return to the NRL next season five years after being banned for betting on matches.

Simona, who will make his [professional boxing debut on Wednesday on the undercard of the Paul Gallen vs. Darcy Lussick bout, told News Corp he had “served my punishment and learned from my mistakes”.

The former Samoan Test player, who is 30, said he deserved another shot at footy after making major changes in his life. Apart from the betting scandal, he was also involved in drug use and an incident with a children’s charity.

Simona, who works with disabled children, has via management had preliminary discussions with several NRL clubs, according to News Corp.

: Tim Simona of the Sea Eagles competes during the round 17 Canterbury Cup NSW match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium on July 13, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Any interested club would have to an application for his reinstatement approved by the Australian Rugby League Commission.

Asked if he was chasing a return to rugby league, Simona said: “Yes, I am.

“My heart has always been with footy and to get back to NRL, that’s the dream.

“I feel like I’ve served my punishment and learned from my mistakes.

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“But at the end of the day, it’s out of my control.

“So I’ll focus on what I can control, which means continuing to work hard, give back to the community and look after my family.

“I’ll keep doing that and hopefully I will get an opportunity again.”

Former NRL CEO boss Todd Greenberg said at the time: “Based on the evidence we have identified it is very hard to imagine Tim Simona will be registered with the NRL at any time in the future”.

Simona played this year with Manly Sea Eagles feeder club Blacktown.

“I’m not a fighter,” he said. But I do love competition.

“I’ve been out of the sporting arena for a while now so I wanted to test myself. Challenge myself.

“And I’m looking forward to it.”

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