Si­mona’s bid for NRL re­turn

The Timaru Herald - - SPORT -

For­mer Wests Tigers cen­tre Tim Si­mona is re­port­edly mak­ing a for­mal bid to be al­lowed to re­turn to the sport.

New Zealand-born Si­mona was sus­pended ‘‘in­def­i­nitely’’ for bet­ting on NRL matches in 2017. He was also found to have de­frauded char­i­ties by sell­ing signed jer­seys and keep­ing the money.

Si­mona, who played for the Tigers be­tween 2011-2016 and also rep­re­sented Samoa, will make a sub­mis­sion to the Rugby League Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion this week to over­turn the ban, ac­cord­ing to the Daily Tele­graph.

‘‘I just have to have a foot­ball in my hands,’’ the 27-year-old said. ‘‘I have to have rugby league in my life.

‘‘I go to the park with a foot­ball nearly ev­ery day and I dream of once again play­ing in the NRL. I want it more than any­thing.’’

As well as sub­mit­ting a dossier that states the com­mu­nity work he has un­der­taken since his ban, he has also penned a let­ter to the RLPA de­tail­ing the lessons he has learned and dif­fi­cul­ties he has faced.

As well as be­ing found guilty of bet­ting on matches, Si­mona re­ceived a good be­hav­iour bond for sell­ing signed jer­seys and keep­ing the pro­ceeds, which were sup­posed to go to char­ity. His re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has re­port­edly in­cluded work­ing with a gam­bling psy­chol­o­gist as he deals with ‘‘the most gutwrench­ing, dif­fi­cult, em­bar­rass­ing, shitty, sham­ing’’ in­ci­dent in his life, adding it left him ‘‘to the point I didn’t wish to live’’.

He has also worked as a per­sonal trainer for clients with spe­cial needs.

If he does re­ceive clear­ance to re­turn to the pro­fes­sional arena at least two clubs have re­port­edly al­ready ex­pressed in­ter­est in sign­ing him.

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