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'I'll come back stronger physically and mentally': Amone vows to revive career after contract torn up over hammer attack

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25th January, 2024
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Dumped Dragons star Talatau Amone wants to make amends and revive his career by coming back “stronger physically and mentally” once his suspension is over after the NRL deregistered him and his contract was torn up.

Amone was found guilty last month on a number of charges including intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after an incident with a tradesman.

The 21-year-old was given a two-year intensive corrections order, forced to do 300 hours of community service and also fined.

The NRL then deregistered Amone’s contract, reportedly worth $500,000 a season, and the rising St George Illawarra star has told The Sydney Morning Herald that he has been struggling to cope with the fact that his NRL dream has been taken away from him.

“It was tough at the start, getting the news that I won’t be able to play this year,” Amone told the SMH. “When I first got the news it rocked me a bit, I just didn’t know what to do.

“Footy is all I’ve done my whole life. So getting that news, knowing that I’m not allowed to play the sport I love and the thing that I love to do, it rocked me a bit and it took me a while to get over it.

“I realised that and I know when I come back, it will make me a better player. I’ll come back stronger mentally and physically.”

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Amone claimed that he will learn from his mistakes and rebuild his career.

“Now I can see the big picture, that once I do come back, it will disappear, it will make me stronger mentally and physically. That’s what I’m most excited about coming back, proving a lot of haters and doubters wrong and proving my loved ones, my family and myself right,” he said.

“I feel like you can go two ways with it – you can sit down and feel sorry for yourself and sook about or you can just deal with it and keep going. That’s what I’m doing. They can knock me down 100 times, I’ll get up 101 times. That’s how it is, that’s how I was raised. I’m ready for whatever.”

The promising young playmaker had played 54 NRL games with St George Illawarra and has been capped by Tonga.

He even labelled his situation as a “blessing in disguise”.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Talatau Amone of the Dragons runs the ball during the NRL Trial Match between the Parramatta Eels and and St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium on February 20, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Junior Amone. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

“The biggest learning for me is not to take anything for granted. You don’t realise how important it is to you until you actually lose it.

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“Now I realise how much I actually loved training every day, loved taking that field every week. I know once I get that back, I’m gonna grab it with two hands and cherish it. I feel like I’m gonna come back 10 times stronger and better than I was. It is a blessing in disguise for myself.”

With Amone ineligible for the upcoming season, the Dragons signed Warriors playmaker Ronald Volkman to boost their halves depth after fellow playmaker Jayden Sullivan had been allowed to join the Wests Tigers.

But the Volkman contract was voided after it was revealed he had been carrying a serious shoulder injury when he was released by the Warriors.

Kyle Flanagan is set to inherit Amone’s five-eighth role alongside captain Ben Hunt when his father, Shane Flanagan, begins his coaching tenure at St George Illawarra this season.

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