NRL Tigers meet sponsors over Lui arrest
September 20, 2011 - 6:24PM
Wests Tigers have met with concerned sponsors after halfback Robert Lui was charged with assaulting his girlfriend.
The 21-year-old was stood down by the NRL club on Tuesday after his arrest at his home in Sydney’s west following the team’s mad Monday celebrations in the wake of Friday’s semi-final defeat by the Warriors.
Police called to the premises found his partner Taleah Rae Backo with a swollen face and detained Lui, who was later charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He was given bail and will appear at Burwood Local Court on October 7.
In September last year, Lui was also charged with nine offences related to allegedly assaulting Backo, who was pregnant at the time, but had those assault charges dismissed in April.
Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys, confirmed Lui would remain on the club’s payroll, but not allowed to work with the players, who will remain in training up until the grand final on October 2, or take part in activities and luncheons with sponsors.
“We have made an initial round of phone calls and had a couple of meetings this afternoon with sponsors to take them through our plan of how we will manage the situation,” Humphreys told AAP.
“They have been supportive of that approach.”
Humphreys also denied the club had been put under pressure by two of the club’s main sponsors, Meriton and Trend Media, to axe Lui, but admitted there was concern from companies involved with the club.
“Everyone seems to be unanimous in allowing the legal process to take it’s course and we will review the situation again once it has happened,” he said.
"Of course we are all concerned about the allegation but we also don’t want to be judgmental.
“We all feel that is the prudent thing to do.”
Humphreys admitted the charges against the Queenslander were not a good look, but cautioned against pre-judging Lui, despite his arrest last year following the Tigers’ defeat to St George Illawarra in last year’s preliminary final.
“He was cleared of all the charges last year and we have to give him the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate,” he said.
“We have to just wait, Rob has helped police with their inquiries and is following the legal process.”
Humphreys said the club would review Mad Monday celebrations and he’d be meeting with all of the players to find out if there were any problems on the night.
“We will take the opportunity to review end of season celebrations with the playing group and if there are lessons to be learned then we will learn them,” he said.
"I’ve spoken to the senior playing group and was at the police station until 3am meeting with Rob, and I will get around to the rest of the group in good time.
“But until we hear more, we’ll sit on the sidelines.”
NRL chief executive David Gallop confirmed the Tigers had kept him updated on the situation but refused to be drawn on whether the matter compromised the code’s Women in League initiative or the PM’s XIII clash with Papua New Guinea.
Sunday’s game in Port Moresby is being used to highlight domestic violence in the country.
“All I can say is that it’s obviously a huge matter and we have to be aware of the court process as it happens,” Gallop told AAP.
“I have asked the club to keep me informed about any further developments.”