Samoan players Reni Maitua, Tautau Moga and Sauaso Sue shouldn’t have been drinking at a Brisbane nightclub, according to coach Matt Parish.
Samoa coach Matt Parish is furious with the lack of professionalism shown by his three stood down players but still wants them back for the rest of the rugby league Four Nations tournament.
Canterbury forward Reni Maitua, North Queensland centre Tautau Moga and Wests Tigers back-rower Sauaso Sue have all been ruled out of Samoa’s opener against England while the NRL’s integrity unit investigate their involvement in a weekend nightclub brawl.
Maitua and Moga are believed to be among eight men charged from the fracas at Hot Gossip at 3.30am on Sunday, hours after a team function in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
Parish, who is also the NSW Origin assistant coach, said the trio and the Samoan management were co-operating fully with police and the NRL.
But he was upset the island nation’s build-up to the month-long tournament had been overshadowed because a few NRL players failed to maintain accepted standards at their Brisbane launch.
“Personally, I’m very (disappointed) but that’s what rugby league is about, you get your ups and downs and you have to move on,” Parish said on Wednesday morning.
“You can’t change what’s happened, it’s how you to react to it.
“The group has reacted very positively. We have a mammoth task on Saturday and we’ve trained well.”
Parish, who had been delighted with his squad’s community involvement before flying out of Apia on Friday, indicated there hadn’t been any curfews or instructions imposed on the players.
“They’re professional athletes and they knew we were training the next day and you have to turn up in an appropriate condition to train,” he said.
Asked if a drinking ban had now been brought down, Parish felt it wasn’t required: “They’re professional athletes they shouldn’t be drinking when they are training should they?”
The former Canberra assistant coach hopes all three players will be available for next week’s clash against New Zealand in Whangarei but won’t know until after the NRL integrity unit decides their fate.
“We want them as soon as possible but we can only control what we can control and our training efforts have been really good and we’re really enjoying what we’ve got in front of us,” he said.
Maitua, Moga and Sue have trained with the squad every day since the incident.
Samoan officials have been tight-lipped as to whether they had considered sending the trio home but Parish didn’t believe it would affect their chances against England.