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Whatuira ‘normal’ after health assessment
Steve Kilgallon | November 8, 2009
Former Kiwi Test centre Paul Whatuira, who was held last month in a secure mental health unit after allegedly assaulting two men, has been released and is ‘‘back to normal’’, says New Zealand skipper Benji Marshall.
Whatuira has spent time with the Kiwi camp this week as they prepared to face England early this morning in Huddersfield, where he plays for the Giants Super League club.
Whatuira shared a flat with Marshall and Bronson Harrison when all three played at the Wests Tigers, and met Marshall for drinks, lunch and dinner on Tuesday with other Kiwis players.
‘‘He’s good - he’s the same Paul that I know,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘I lived with Paul for a long time and to hear that stuff about him was definitely out of character and he was back to normal and seemed sweet to me.’’
Whatuira also lunched this week with Tigers and Australia hooker Robbie Farah, who said: ‘‘I’m sure everyone back home will be glad to hear he is doing well now.’’
It is understood the incident involving Whatuira came after he had received medical treatment for extreme sleeplessness.
Whatuira had missed games during the Super League season after complaining of migraines.
He was arrested by police after allegedly attacking two men early one morning after leaving a hospital where he had been treated.
One lost teeth and suffered a broken nose in the incident.
After his arrest, Whatuira was taken by police to a secure unit in Bradford where he underwent a mental health assessment.
Wellington-born Whatuira won 16 caps for the Kiwis between 2004 and 2007 and played a key role in the 2005 Tri Nations winning team.
Meanwhile, Nathan Fien, also due to line up against England, says he took a substantial pay cut to escape his Warriors’ reserve-grade nightmare when the club refused to pay out his contract.
Fien says when the Warriors offered him a mid-year release to join the Dragons - with whom he had signed a three-year contract starting 2010 - they weren’t willing to pay out the remainder of his existing deal, which ran to last month.
The Dragons had exhausted their NRL salary cap, leaving only some money in their second-tier cap, a $300,000 per club limit aimed at players outside the club’s top 25 salary earners.
Having been dumped to the Auckland Vulcans’ NSW Cup side, Fien says he knew he had to move or write off any hope of Kiwi selection for the Four Nations.
‘‘If I wanted to be involved in what we were doing and stayed at the Warriors, there was no way it would’ve happened,’’ he said.
lets hope he gets back to normal. must of been some night that one. erase it from it our minds.