No apol­ogy is nec­es­sary

Tahu stands firm on al­leged racial slur as he an­nounces one- year deal with Pan­thers

Townsville Bulletin - - Rugby League -

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL dual in­ter­na­tional Ti­mana Tahu is adamant he will not apol­o­gise for a racial slur he says he never made.

Tahu and the NRL con­firmed yes­ter­day the for­mer Par­ra­matta and New­cas­tle star will re­boot his tur­bu­lent ca­reer with Pen­rith on a con­tract cov­er­ing the rest of 2011.

The 30-year-old left the Eels at the end of last year un­der a cloud fol­low­ing a trou­bled seas o n o v e r s h a d o wed b y t wo racism rows.

One of those, an al­le­ga­tion Tahu racially abused a 16-yearold at an in­dige­nous knock­out, re­mains un­re­solved.

‘‘ I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise for some­thing that I haven’t done, that I haven’t said,’’ Tahu said at Cen­tre­bet Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

‘‘ I’ve got no hard feel­ings against the young kid but I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise.’’

Tahu was say­ing lit­tle else about the furore af­ter Pan­thers coach Matt El­liott in­ter­jected when a j our­nal­ist asked a sec­ond ques­tion. ‘‘ I think that’s enough. I think that’s a re­ally good, ar­tic­u­late re­sponse to that ques­tion,’’ El­liott said.

’’. . . I know there’s some other things that you guys will have to probe into, but that’s not the pur­pose of this just at the mo­ment.’’

NRL boss David Gal­lop again ex­pressed his pref­er­ence for the mat­ter be­ing re­solved but said legal ad­vice meant the league would reg­is­ter Tahu’s con­tract.

‘‘ There have been a num­ber of at­tempts to achieve this ( res­o­lu­tion) but in the end we have two par­ties each com­mit­ted to con­flict i ng ver­sions of t he event,’’ Gal­lop said.

‘‘ It is a mat­ter that the depart­ment of hu­man rights and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties have worked through with­out re­solv­ing and one that was out­side of our ju­ris­dic­tion un­der the cur­rent struc­ture.

‘‘ We have taken Se­nior Coun­sel’s ad­vice on that to­day and it ap­pears we are not able to take it any fur­ther.’’

P a n t h e r s c h i e f e x e c u t i v e Michael Leary did not rule out Tahu – who is part Abo­rig­i­nal and part Maori – still sitting down with the 16-year-old at the cen­tre of the com­plaint, young Bris­bane Bron­cos re­cruit Caleb Binge.

‘‘ He’s quite happy to at­tend any hear­ing that may oc­cur in the fu­ture,’’ Leary said.

Tahu will be­gin try­ing to con­vince El­liott he is fit enough for the NRL – fol­low­ing an off­sea­son of train­ing alone – when he joins his new team­mates at train­ing on Mon­day.

The for­mer NSW State of Ori­gin, Kan­ga­roos and Wal­la­bies rep­re­sen­ta­tive dodged ques­tions about the rea­sons he quit the Eels af­ter ask­ing the club for most of the pre-sea­son off for per­sonal rea­sons.

But he did say his time away had helped.

‘‘ It hasn’t been hard at all,’’ he said. ‘‘ There was a lot of spec­u­la­tion and a lot of lies that were writ­ten about me. I was just happy be­ing home with the kids and train­ing un­til Pen­rith came along with an of­fer.’’

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