UPDATE: nrl.com has reported that the NRL Cowboys are not looking to sack player Robert Lui after he was convicted guilty of assaulting his girlfriend.
North Queensland chief executive Peter Jourdain said that the club will have to be prepared for criticism when he returns to NRL action, but that they have a duty to help the halfback.
The Cowboys acted swiftly to impose an indefinite ban on the 22-year-old after he pleaded guilty to assaulting his partner Taleah Rae Backo.
The incident took place following a Wests Tigers’ Mad Monday session last September and Lui was suspended by the joint venture.
He was then released to join the Cowboys after pressure from club sponsors and his desire to be closer to his family.
Lui is still being paid by the club, despite having played just one game this year and is training day-to-day with the team.
However, Jourdain said the troubled playmaker is undergoing daily counselling as part of a rehabilitation program, and won’t be rushed back into the side.
“It’s a process that needs to be worked through and we’re focusing more on his personal rehabilitation than when he’ll be back playing footy again,” Jourdain told AAP.
The National Rugby League has a very big problem and it’s one entirely of their own making. So far this year two players have plead guilty in court to the assaults of their girlfriends and mothers of their children. Both were particularly nasty, yet both of these men have a future in the game.
As a card carrying bloke, season ticket holder and life long fan, these men disgust me. And the games reaction to their cowardly actions is, to use footy terms, pissweak.
Yesterday Robert Lui was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend late last year after he came home from his team’s (Wests Tigers) Mad Monday celebrations.
According to the Australian:
“Lui kicked her in the temple and headbutted her. Lui entered the apartment via a balcony, pushed her in the chest, then dragged her by her hair to a mattress where he kicked her a number of times.
”He was trying to kick into the sides of me,” she told the court during sentencing submissions before Magistrate Glenn Walsh. ”I was trying to cover myself, that’s when he kicked me in the head. I was curled up trying to cover myself.”
Lui was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, got a $2000 fine and has been given a two year good behaviour bond.
Bizarrely, Lui’s girlfriend still lives with him and they both moved to North Queensland where he now plays for the local NRL team, the Cowboys.
But did he also lose his job yesterday? Did the NRL take the ultimate action and de-register Lui so he can’t play for the Cowboys or anyone else this year? Nope.
All we got from the Cowboys was this statement yesterday:
“Before we signed Robert, we were aware of this pending charge and he admitted he had made mistakes in his life. Since Robert has been with the Cowboys, he has been an exemplary trainer, a fine contributor to our club and has clearly indicated he wants to make a fresh start with us.
However, in conjunction with the NRL, the Cowboys have decided to suspend Robert from playing indefinitely after he pleaded guilty today. The length of his suspension will be determined in due course with his rehabilitation remaining a high priority.”
It is yet to be confirmed by the club, but I understand he has been suspended, WITH pay.
The NRL should have deregistered Lui for at least the rest of the year by the time the sun went down yesterday. I think he has no place in the game.