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Thread: I'm sorry but FFS

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    Veteran Contributor The EnForcer's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but FFS

    Have a look at this report from Rugby Heaven. They take every opportunity to try to show up the Australian team. It's not until at the very end of the report that we find out that the players were not involved in the incident and they are only being questioned and no doubt the reporter has forgotten to state that they are being questioned as witnesses. The Sydney Herald needs to pull its head in big style and the ARU needs to step in and take some action over the idiotic and unpatriotic campaign being waged against our boys.

    The End

    oops here's the report...http://www.rugbyheaven.smh.com.au/ar...530581299.html

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    I think in this instance you would be allowed to use the full version, TEF

    For Fucks Sake!

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    Indeed - radio news has just reported that the players are involved as potential witnesses to the assault but none are involved. That's certainly not what you'd be thinking from reading the article.

    Typical gutter journalism!!!!

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    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=285364

    Some mungos, Lote and Dunning now.

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    Of course though of all players it just had to be Lote and Dunning involved. Even if they didn't do anything why are they always in these situations?! No wonder the media had a field day with their misreporting

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    There is either something they aren't telling us in all of this or it is turning into the mother lode of beat up gutter journalism.
    If it's the latter we have come to expect it from the pie eater but I will be really disappointed if Rupert Guinness has resorted to such trash.


    Boot camp to booze camp in 12 hours

    Greg Growden and Rupert Guinness
    Saturday, August 11, 2007


    At 6pm on Thursday, Wallabies team manager Phil Thomson did his final headcount following a five-day commando camp on Stradbroke Island and said: "Everyone got through OK. We're all looking forward to a shower and some clean clothes. Then we're off to a team dinner."

    Thomson sounded relieved all players had got through unscathed, following a boot camp that included midnight swims across lakes, abseiling, hiking, pushing cars up hills and sleeping in the frost.

    In the background, Wallabies players could be heard whistling merrily, clearly delighted that life was suddenly returning to normal. Adding to the joy was that they were heading back to the metropolis and a team dinner being held on a luxury boat cruising along the Brisbane River. The Wallaby life they were accustomed to had returned.

    Twelve hours later, life in Wallabyland had taken a dreadful turn. Queensland police were swarming over the team's Brisbane hotel, setting up a crime scene following an assault on a 52-year-old taxi driver near the entrance. Players were being woken by police to be questioned about the assault.

    Everything went awry following the cruise. At 10pm, the training camp had officially broken, and the players were free to go their own way. Several went home. Most of those who do not live in Brisbane returned to their hotel in the centre of town. Some kicked on. Winger Lote Tuqiri and his close Waratahs friend Matt Dunning headed to a popular Brisbane nightclub, where they met up Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt and a group of his friends. It is also understood that, during the night, another Brisbane Broncos player joined the entourage.

    The group left the nightclub about 4.30am and headed to the Wallabies' hotel, where Dunning invited them back to his room. They remained there for less than an hour before the group broke up, with the bulk returning to the hotel foyer. It is understood Dunning then went to bed.

    Details then become sketchy, with conflicting reports over what occurred, and what prompted the assault on the taxi driver at the rank outside the main entrance at about 5.20am. Hunt is believed to have been inside the foyer at the time of the incident, while Dunning was later woken by police when they had been alerted that an assault had occurred. While confusion reigned, an ambulance arrived to treat the victim, and then take him to Royal Brisbane Hospital.

    As dawn broke, the Wallaby players were awoken by the commotion outside, and soon discovered that they were at the centre of another off-field drama. Others who had slept in first found out when snippets were revealed in television news bulletins. Tuqiri, who had originally planned to catch a 6.30am flight to Sydney, was no chance of returning early to his family.

    Instead, he was being questioned by police, along with Dunning, while the team management were getting urgent telephone calls from ARU head office in Sydney trying to ascertain what had happened. Thomson was soon in regular contact with ARU chief executive John O'Neill. A few hours later, the pair met at the ARU bunker in St Leonards, while ARU chairman Peter McGrath, realising the gravity of the situation, immediately drove from Canberra to Sydney to attend crisis meetings.

    Some players who had made plans to have an excursion to the Queensland countryside, concerned by the seriousness of the incident, decided to remain in their hotel rooms as they awaited further information. For some hours, there was confusion over which Wallabies and Broncos players were involved. About noon, sources confirmed that Tuqiri, Dunning and Hunt had been with the group of drinkers. Later it was discovered that another Broncos player had also been in the group.

    By late afternoon, Queensland police were able to make their first comment. They officially cleared Tuqiri, Dunning and Hunt of any involvement in the incident. But they did confirm that footballers were helping them in their investigation.

    A key to the investigation will be the video surveillance of the serious assault. And the key to the immediate future of the two Wallabies will be a meeting with O'Neill early next week. There is already word that the ARU will demand that the pair undergo alcohol counselling, and that their Wallaby careers are on the line.

    O'Neill is understood to be fuming. And as many seasoned rugby observers know, you do not want to get on the wrong side of John O'Neill.

    REPEAT OFFENDERS

    LOTE TUQIRI


    January 2007: Sent home from Wallabies' training camp after failing a fitness test.

    March 2007: Apologises for shoving NSW teammate Sam Norton-Knight on the field after Norton-Knight took a quick tap instead of a shot for goal in the drawn game against the Western Force.

    May 2007: Apologises to Wallabies selector Michael O'Connor for putting his mobile phone on loudspeaker during conversation about NSW teammate Peter Hewat.

    July 2007: Fined $20,000 and suspended for two Tests for breaching team protocol, after he failed an alcohol breath test following Australia's 20-15 victory against the All Blacks in Melbourne.

    MATT DUNNING

    May 2003: Fined $5000 after breaking nose of teammate Des Tuiavii at "Mad Monday" celebrations.

    July 2005: Fined $500 for staying out late at a Cape Town nightclub in the week of a Test.

    August 2006: Fined $3000 for breaching the Waratahs' disciplinary protocols when, at 2am one morning, affected by alcohol, he damaged a door hinge of a Sydney taxi. The driver complained to police but Dunning resolved the issue with the cab owner. On appeal, Dunning had the fine set aside and was issued a caution.

    July 2005: Nightclub spat with Matt Henjak in Cape Town; suspended two-match ban and $500 fine.

    Lote, Dunning face riot act

    Rupert Guinness and Greg Growden
    Saturday, August 11, 2007


    Lote Tuqiri and Matt Dunning have put their World Cup positions in jeopardy with an early morning drinking session, the aftermath of which resulted in an alleged assault on a Brisbane taxi driver.

    Tuqiri and Dunning were not involved in the pre-dawn attack outside the Sofitel, where the Wallabies were staying. They were questioned by Queensland police yesterday morning and later cleared over the incident that left the victim with a fractured skull after he was king hit.

    The 52-year-old taxi driver hit his head on the ground and was taken by ambulance to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where his condition was stable last night.

    But the Australian Rugby Union will still hold an inquiry into how the two Wallabies put themselves in a position of being implicated by their actions which came at the conclusion of a five-day Wallabies boot camp on Stradbroke Island.

    Tuqiri and Dunning will be hauled into ARU chief executive John O'Neill's office early next week, where, say ARU sources, "they will be read the riot act".

    The meeting is expected to involve an order that they have alcohol counselling.

    Tuqiri and Dunning were at a Brisbane night club where they met Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt, who was with several friends and a Broncos teammate.

    The group went back to Dunning's room at the team hotel about 4.30am.

    It is understood the party finished about 5.15am and Hunt's entourage, including a person who had been with the Wallabies for numerous hours, headed downstairs to the reception in order to leave the hotel. The alleged assault on the taxi driver then occurred.

    Police were last night planning to check surveillance tapes to determine the identity of the attacker or attackers.

    Sources told the Herald last night that when police were alerted about the assault, they went to Dunning's room, where they woke the Wallabies prop. Tuqiri was due to take a 6.30am plane to Sydney but had to miss the flight.

    Police did not interview Hunt, who has had no allegations made against him. But he is understood to have been in the hotel foyer when the attack happened.

    "Andrew Gee, our football manager, spoke to Karmichael and he told us he had nothing to do with it at all," Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen said.

    "As far as we're aware, Karmichael isn't considered a person of interest by the police or anything like that."

    The Herald has also learnt that ARU top brass are furious that Tuqiri and Dunning have again been involved in an off-field issue that has disrupted the Wallabies' World Cup preparations.

    "The matter will be taken out of the team code of conduct [laws] and dealt with," an ARU source said yesterday. "It is clear some [players] will still put themselves in situations like this when they shouldn't."

    O'Neill said that while police had cleared the two players, the fact they were socialising in a player's room in the early hours with some people they were unfamiliar with was a concern.

    "Players must be more conscious of not placing themselves in harm's way," O'Neill said. "While they may not have done anything wrong, they have clearly placed themselves in a position where their reputations, and that of the Wallabies, have been compromised.

    "The fact is the Wallaby training camp had concluded and players were on their own time, the Brisbane-based players had even returned home. I plan on addressing the entire squad before it leaves for the World Cup in France and Wales on the importance of keeping themselves and the Wallaby name unblemished."

    However, Wallabies coach John Connolly said there was no issue with the players' behaviour.

    "These guys were in their own time, it's their private time, and they've been cleared of any incident," he said. "They've done nothing wrong Obviously putting themselves in the position sometimes is dangerous but you can say that these guys didn't put themselves in that position."

    Tuqiri and Dunning have been involved in a long list of incidents. But this issue could trigger the biggest blow to their careers if the ARU wields its power. The ramifications could be felt further within the Wallabies squad - including members of the team management - should the ARU's gathering of facts and investigation lead to a finding that the incident was also reflective of questionable organisation.

    The ARU will want to act swiftly. It is not only conscious of the damage this incident will do to the code's image - and most probably the waning faith of its sponsors - but the Wallabies leave for France on August 23. "It must be as quick as we can," a high-ranking ARU official said. "But we have to get all the facts. And any judicial process must be fair."

    It is understood the Wallabies camp officially ended at 10pm on Thursday after a team dinner.

    However, it was not lost on angry ARU officials that the players in question were staying in hotel rooms that had been paid for by the national union and as a result were representatives of it.

    When news of the assault broke yesterday morning, the ARU went into immediate damage control.

    Wallabies team manager Phil Thomson was summoned by O'Neill to return from Brisbane to Sydney immediately to the ARU headquarters at StLeonards. He arrived back about 11am.

    As Thomson was flying south, ARU chairman Peter McGrath was driving from Canberra to join him.

    Meanwhile, as the Wallabies management still in Brisbane continued to assist the police with their investigation after a crime scene was marked outside the hotel, those players still there opted to remain in their rooms.

    with Brad Walter, Andrew Webster and AAP


    Wallabies cleared in taxi attack

    By David Beniuk, Jessica Marszalek and Paul Osborne
    August 10, 2007


    COACH John Connolly says no disciplinary action will be taken against two Australia players questioned and cleared by police of involvement in the early morning bashing of a Brisbane taxi driver.

    Two players, understood to be winger Lote Tuqiri and prop Matt Dunning, were questioned by police after a 52-year-old taxi driver was attacked outside Brisbane's Sofitel Hotel, where several Wallabies players were staying, early this morning.

    The incident came the day after the Wallabies had completed a boot camp in Queensland ahead of next month's Rugby World Cup.

    Connolly would not confirm the players' identities but said there was no issue with their behaviour.

    "These guys were in their own time, it's their private time and they've been cleared of any incident," Connolly told AAP.

    "They've done nothing wrong, they've just had six days in camp, they've got five days break.

    "Obviously putting themselves in the position sometimes is dangerous but you can say that these guys didn't put themselves in that position.

    "They went home, their behaviour was first class and if something happens an hour after, they weren't anywhere near it."

    Police said no footballers were believed responsible for the attack and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said no Australia players were involved.

    It is understood Dunning and Tuqiri had been at a nightclub with Brisbane Broncos NRL league fullback Karmichael Hunt and two other unnamed people - who are not associated with the Wallabies squad - before going back to Dunning's hotel room.

    Fox Sports quoted an ARU source saying the two unnamed associates later went downstairs and it was after that the incident allegedly took place.

    The Australia players remained upstairs and it is not believed that Hunt was interviewed by police.

    The ARU said in a statement it had been made aware of a "serious assault" on a Brisbane taxi driver.

    "The ARU understands that no Wallaby players were involved in or witnessed the assault overnight, which is now the subject of a police investigation," the statement said.

    "Brisbane police have spoken to two players.

    "Brisbane police are also now in contact with ARU management who are co-operating fully with the investigation.

    "The ARU will make no further statement at this time."

    Tuqiri and Dunning have both been disciplined in the past by the Wallabies for off-field breaches.

    AAP

    Two words for the ARU - sack them

    Greg Growden
    Saturday, August 11, 2007


    COMMENT Based on facts?

    It is high time for the Australian Rugby Union and the Wallabies team management to show they are serious about weeding out senseless off-field behaviour by tearing up the contracts of serial offenders.

    Even if Wallabies players were not involved in the assault of a Brisbane taxi driver at 5.20am yesterday, what were they doing having hotel-room parties until just before dawn? Why do they put themselves in a position where they can be associated with trouble? Is this what they really learned during their five-day boot camp?

    Don't these players get it? Have they any interest in winning a World Cup? Who is in control here? And why is it always the same players getting into strife? As one senior Wallaby told the Herald last night: "It's the same blokes who always appear to find themselves in trouble."

    The Wallabies cannot use the fact that the players were no longer in camp as an excuse. They were, after all, at a hotel where their rooms were being paid for by the ARU. Even if they weren't, every minute of the day they are Wallabies, whether they like it or not - and that involves upholding certain standards.

    If they can't, then the ARU should bid them farewell, and let them discover what it is like earning a living in the real world. Just as sad is that these repeated off-field dramas unfairly smear the bulk of the squad who never do anything wrong. The behaviour of the Wallabies overall is exemplary, but the team's reputation is being ruined by a minority.

    Wallabies management, including head coach John Connolly, must not be allowed - as in previous cases - to distance themselves from the latest incident, and place the blame elsewhere.

    Despite Connolly's incessant huffing and puffing about being tough on ill-discipline, he has not been. Instead, he has been overly lenient, with many players admitting privately to the Herald that they know he will side with them if they get into trouble.

    Connolly attempted to play down the Stirling Mortlock-Scott Johnson incident in Rome during last year's end-of-season tour, taking the usual step of blaming the media for writing about a moment that has since had major repercussions within the team framework. Despite Mortlock and Johnson's disagreement, which prompting a crisis within the team management over what sort of discipline should be imposed, Connolly unsuccessfully attempted to sweep that problem under the carpet.

    His arguments with ARU chief executive John O'Neill over how Tuqiri should be disciplined after sleeping through a training session several weeks ago in Sydney also showed that the head coach prefers taking short-cuts. Connolly was fuming that O'Neill insisted on a two-match suspension, a logical penalty considering the player was already under the cloud of a two-match suspended sentence. Connolly wanted a one-match ban, so that Tuqiri could play in the Auckland Bledisloe Cup match. Again, Connolly's priorities were wrong.

    And don't Connolly's words in his Sun-Herald column on July 15 really sting the eyes.

    Under the headline Guys, a tip from your fairy godmother: be in by midnight, Connolly said player scandals had "become an obsession of the Australian media and the days of the routine sports story are long gone as editors attempt to lift sales".

    "We're familiar with the story of Cinderella and the way it relates to the situation sports stars in this country are facing," Connolly wrote. "There are some common threads in these off-field incidents - they generally involve alcohol and usually occur late at night.

    "I'm not one for imposing curfews on grown men, but there needs to be some common sense shown by players on a night out. By observing the Cinderella hour players would significantly reduce their chances of being caught up in off-field troubles."

    Talk is cheap. It is time for the Wallabies and the ARU to be fair dinkum by imposing curfews on those who cannot behave, and weed out those within the playing and management ranks who think this is either just another media beat-up or a joke.

    What happened in Brisbane early yesterday morning is no laughing matter.

    Wallabies cleared by police

    10/08/2007 8:26:33 PM
    Steve Orme
    Sportal


    The two Wallabies questioned by police regarding an assault outside a Brisbane hotel on Friday morning that left a man in a critical condition have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

    However, the pair may still face disciplinary action from the Australian Rugby Union in the lead-up to the assault on a taxi driver out the front of the Sofitel Hotel.

    Some members of the Australian World Cup squad had been staying at the hotel on Thursday night.

    At 5:30am on Friday morning the driver was reportedly punched and is then said to have hit his head when he fell to the ground, suffering serious head injuries that resulted in him being rushed to hospital.

    The Wallabies pair was socialising in a room at the hotel along with an NRL player who plays for a Queensland team when the assault occurred.
    Click here to find out more!

    Police are now searching for two friends of the rugby league player believed to have committed the assault.

    The ARU released a statement on Friday afternoon saying that the players had been helping police with their investigation, before sending a second one out later in the day announcing the clearance from the police.

    But ARU managing director and chief executive John O'Neill is far from pleased with the players, and plans to speak to the entire 30-man squad about its responsibilities and obligations as members of the national squad.

    "Players must be more conscious of not placing themselves in harm's way," O'Neill said.

    "While they may not have done anything wrong, they have clearly placed themselves in a position where their reputations and that of the Wallabies have been compromised."

    The Wallabies squad had been in Queensland for the past week at a pre-World Cup boot camp.

    Brisbane-based players had returned to their homes with the others travelling interstate to their own bases later on Friday.

    "The fact is the Wallaby training camp had concluded and players were on their own time, the Brisbane-based players had even returned home," O'Neill added.

    "I plan on addressing the entire squad before it leaves for the World Cup in France and Wales on the importance of keeping themselves and the Wallaby name unblemished."

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    Puhlease...cry me a river, this is stupid!!

    Curfew, counsel for Wallabies

    By Wayne Smith
    August 11, 2007

    PROBLEM Wallabies Lote Tuqiri and Matt Dunning will receive alcohol counselling and a blanket curfew is set to be imposed in the wake of another incident involving players.

    Tuqiri and Dunning have been cleared by police of any involvement in an assault around 5.20am yesterday on a taxi driver that left the 52-year-old man in a serious condition in hospital.

    But that will not be the end of the matter for the two players even though they breached no team rules by staying out at a Brisbane nightclub until it closed around 4am and then continuing to party in Dunning's room at the Sofitel Hotel, where the Wallabies were staying at the end of a boot camp in southeast Queensland.

    Each has been disciplined twice in the past two years over alcohol-related incidents, with Tuqiri suspended for the Wallabies' two most recent Tri-Nations Tests when he returned a 0.05 blood alcohol reading after missing a recovery session on the Monday after the win over the New Zealand in Melbourne.

    Senior ARU sources indicated yesterday it was not punishment that Tuqiri and Dunning would receive, but help. Officials are concerned both are developing a pattern of alcohol-affected behaviour and have decided to arrange counselling for them before they leave for a World Cup training camp in Portugal in a fortnight.

    They might not have breached any team disciplinary rules but the two New South Wales players certainly were guilty of questionable judgment in staying out so late just a month out from their first World Cup match and then in inviting people they didn't know back to Dunning's hotel room.

    One of the men who accompanied them back to the Sofitel for more drinks is alleged to have assaulted the taxi driver.

    ARU boss John O'Neill said the fact they were socialising in a player's room into the early hours with people they were unfamiliar with was a concern. "Players must be more conscious of not placing themselves in harm's way," O'Neill said.

    "Whilst they may not have done anything wrong, they have clearly placed themselves in a position where their reputations, and that of the Wallabies, have been compromised."

    O'Neill intends to address the squad before it leaves for the World Cup to drive home the message of keeping the Wallabies' name unblemished.

    Although coach John Connolly insisted yesterday the drinking culture that took hold in the Wallabies following the retirement of John Eales in 2001 had been weeded out, he said that for the players' own protection a curfew might need to be imposed on the team during the World Cup.

    "There comes a time when we may have to consider a curfew," said Connolly who, until now, has strongly opposed the idea, believing that the players deserved to be treated like grown men.

    "Obviously we're concerned about the image of the game. What people do in their own time is very much up to them but along with that comes a responsibility. When you're a professional rugby player, you're representing the code 24 hours a day. Sometimes for young men that's easy to forget. If we can minimise the risk of them getting into trouble by introducing a curfew, then it's something we have to look at."

    Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock, who rebuilt his reputation this season after landing in trouble by returning late to the team's Rome hotel last November following the Test against Italy, said he had not given any thought to a curfew but he was prepared to examine the idea.

    The other concern driving the push for a curfew is that individual Wallabies could be the targets of a media set-up while in Wales or France during their two-month World Cup campaign.

    "There is that risk," Connolly said. "They're so open, the players, so vulnerable. They're young and they don't realise that things like that can happen."

    When news of the assault first broke, there were concerns Tuqiri and Dunning might have forfeited their World Cup spots, but as it became obvious their involvement in the incident was peripheral, former Wallabies spoke out in their defence.

    "It's a long way before they next play and they haven't missed any team commitments," Eales, captain of Australia's 1999 World Cup-winning side, said.

    Andrew Slack, skipper of the 1984 grand slam Wallabies and Australia's first World Cup captain, similarly claimed Tuqiri and Dunning should not be punished for an incident that occurred while they were safely in their hotel rooms. "Repeat offenders obviously deserve some sort of punishment, but is there an offence here?" Slack asked.

    Former Test prop and undercover policeman Dan Crowley said the only truly important element was that the taxi driver make a full recovery. "But Lote and Matt haven't done anything wrong," Crowley said. "It's guilt by association."

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    I know it's been blown way out of proportion but still... wtf is lote doing staying up late drinking again?

    Has he not yet realised that when he has a bender things get ugly and out of hand?

    I think he's a lost cause... leave him at home and take Sheps to France!!

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    Pretty fair call Jess, Lote is a bad WC headline waiting to happen
    Guess he wasn't planning on much sleep if the group left the room around 5:15 and he was to fly out of Brisbane at 6:30...
    Twenty minutes to pack, twenty minutes to get there, thirty minutes for early check in...
    Maybe the basher had asked the cabbie to wait for Lote for a couple of minutes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jess
    I know it's been blown way out of proportion but still... wtf is lote doing staying up late drinking again?

    Has he not yet realised that when he has a bender things get ugly and out of hand?

    I think he's a lost cause... leave him at home and take Sheps to France!!
    I'm torn on this, I agree with Jess that he (Lote) shouldn't be going on benders so soon after being disciplined but the reality of the situation is that they have not broken any rules. They are definately not acting in a professional manner and for that they should be warned. However, the Sydney Herald and it's reporting team are once again on a feeding frenzy with Growden at the centre......I again ask the question, "Does he (Growden) actually like the game?"

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    Hey Growden!!!
    A prezzie for ya.



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    Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

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    Veteran Jess's Avatar
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    haha nice one FT!

    Enforcer...

    I'm with you on this one that they didn't break any rules and I think the media and grumbles are having a field day where one is not due.

    But I just don't think Lote seems to actually give a damn about professionalism. He seems to have lost all respect for the code and for his team mates. I'm not suggesting he should never have a drink with the guys and stuff but seriously... staying out until 5 in the morning is a bit much when you're meant to be on a plane a few hours later.

    He seems to be along for the ride... laughing at how much money he is earning and has become complacent and expects to be picked. Whereas someone like Sheps, who has had his misdemeanours in the past, has learned from his mistakes and puts his heart and soul into his rugby. When sheps steps out onto the field you just know how much he wants to be there and how much it means to him just by the big smile on his face.

    I think the Wallabies need dedication and determination more than anything for this years world cup. It's going to be tough and I think someone with Sheps's attitude is going to be far more valuable than Lote's.

    He's talented... he's just wasting it with his off field behaviour.

    Teach him a lesson... leave him at home.

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  13. #13
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    what she said!

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    Well said Jess

    The story is starting to unfold now-

    Coaches rip into media

    SMH but no Author raising their hand against the Chief Rugby Writer!
    Saturday, August 11, 2007


    Two of Australia's top football coaches today ripped into the Australian media, accusing journalists of smearing players' reputations for the sake of sensational headlines.

    Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and his Wallabies counterpart John Connolly defended their players following the bashing of a taxi driver outside a Brisbane hotel early Friday morning.

    The driver, 52, suffered a fractured skull and remains in Royal Brisbane Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

    A 27-year-old Gold Coast man, Patana Elisaia, was today granted bail by a Brisbane magistrate after being charged with one count of grievous bodily harm over the attack.

    He will report to Southport police once a week until his next court appearance next month, ABC Radio reported.

    Elisaia and others had hooked up with Wallabies World Cup squad members Lote Tuqiri and Matt Dunning who were out on the town with Broncos rugby league players Karmichael Hunt and Ian Lacey.

    The group returned to the Sofitel hotel - where the Wallabies were staying as part of a team training camp ahead of next month's World Cup.

    The incident in which the taxi driver was injured occurred some time later.

    The four football players were questioned by police and cleared of any involvement in the attack.

    Broncos Rugby League team coach Wayne Bennett fumed today when the players' names were on headlines across the country.

    "I've got to come to a press conference today and I don't want to be with you to be honest when you see those headlines, because you just know it's unfair," said Bennett, accusing the media of setting itself up as "judge and jury".

    "It was like someone had killed someone yesterday, it was absolutely ridiculous.

    "The players are guilty by association in that they just happened to be in a particular place at a particular time when a situation developed.

    "They had no control over or no involvement in and they're headline news.

    "The players are the headlines through no fault of their own."

    Australian Rugby Union coach John Connolly said attacks on players by the Australian media was now worse than that dished out by the infamous British press.

    "I have spent five and a half years overseas and the English press is savage at times," he said.

    "But this type of stuff - we are going through a stage where we are praying for people to do things wrong.

    "This was terribly unfair on those guys, there is no doubt. They did nothing wrong."

    Connolly said both Tuqiri and Dunning were handling the situation well.

    "There is no doubt the trade-off for being very well paid and all the trappings that go with it is you are liable for this kind of attack," he said.

    "You get used to it all."

    AAP

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    Maybe the ARU needs to tell Bennett to pull his head in as well

    Bennett tells ARU to back off Tuqiri
    11th August 2007, 10:36 WST

    http://www.thewest.com.au/aapstory.a...oryName=408141

    Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has told senior rugby union officials to get off Lote Tuqiri's back after the Australian Rugby Union warned the Wallaby star to pull his head in.

    Tuqiri is facing a World Cup curfew after he and Wallaby teammate Matt Dunning were part of police investigations into the early morning bashing of a 52 year-old taxi driver outside the team's Brisbane hotel.

    Tuqiri and Dunning were in their rooms at the time of the assault but Brisbane Broncos players Karmichael Hunt and Ian Lacey, who had been visiting them, were in the foyer and were also questioned by police.

    Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill promised both Tuqiri and Dunning would be told in no uncertain terms to curb their late night drinking heading into the World Cup.

    After a number of alcohol-related incidents, including a $20,000 fine for failing a breath test just last month, Tuqiri's $5 million contract is under threat if he doesn't change his lifestyle.

    Bennett came to Tuqiri's defence, accusing O'Neill and other rugby officials of grossly overreacting.

    "The ARU always over react, you've got to watch them," said Bennett, who coached Tuqiri before rugby swooped with the big dollars.

    "Anything involving ex-league players they over react even more.

    "What is Lote supposed to do?

    "Every time he sticks his nose out somewhere, he's in trouble whether it is on the field or off the field and now he is in his room and they're still finding fault with him."

    Hardly a month has gone by this year without Tuqiri finding himself in hot water with officials.

    In January he was sent home from a World Cup training camp after failing a fitness test and in March he was in trouble for abusing and shoving teammate Sam Norton-Knight for making an error on the field.

    He was fined $10,000 in May for putting his mobile phone loudspeaker on during a private conversation with selector Michael O'Connor who was being critical of his NSW teammate Peter Hewat.

    Earlier this month he was hit with a $20,000 fine after he missed a team medical and recovery session.

    He later failed a breath test.

    O'Neill said he would give Tuqiri and Dunning a "blunt message" following revelations they have been drinking in the early hours of Friday morning.

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    Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

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