Parish disappointed in stood-down trio
Samoa coach Matt Parish has expressed his deep disappointment over the three players who have been stood down Saturday night's tournament-opener against England at Suncorp Stadium.
Tautau Moga, Reni Maitua and Sauaso Sue were left out of Samoa's line-up named by Parish on Tuesday and remain under investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit for an incident in Brisbane last Saturday night.
"Personally? Very [disappointed], but that’s what rugby league is about. You got your ups and downs you’ve got to move on. You can’t change what’s happened. It’s how you react to it," he said on Wednesday morning.
"The group has reacted very positively. We’ve got a mammoth task in front of us on Saturday night. We’ve trained well. We had a good preparation in Samoa."
Parish, whose team qualified for the Four Nations after defeating Fiji in May, admonished his players for their role in the incident but said they have since fully co-operated with the investigation.
"They are professional athletes and they knew we were training the next day. You’ve got to turn up in an appropriate condition to train," he said.
"They are co-operating and have done everything. There is an inquiry going well. I can only comment on the football side of it. We’ve done what we think is right from a Samoan management [perspective] and now it’s in the hands of the integrity commission.
"They’ve been honest and upfront. They’ve helped with all the inquiries. It’s not an ideal situation. The boys have been good with the way they’ve cooperated. We’ve been trying to concentrate on football as much as possible."
While the incident has been a significant disruption in their preparation for England, Parish said the nation's first appearance in the tournament was a major opportunity for players like Kangaroos reject Josh McGuire to demonstrate their ability at rep level.
"I think they've definitely got a point to prove. I think guys like Josh McGuire, it's a great opportunity to showcase what he's got to Mal Meninga for next year's Origin series," he said.
"Same with BJ [Joey Leilua], Tim Lafai, when he joins us next week, for the NSW team. It's a great opportunity for them all. It's a great opportunity for all our players to show what they've got against the world's best."
McGuire impressed in Australia's Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea recently but failed to crack Tim Sheens' 24-man squad, and Parish said he was only too happy for the Broncos frontman to join the team.
"Obviously he's come out of a good system at the Broncos. He's brought that enthusiasm, he obviously played pretty well in the Prime Minster's XIII against PNG and he's unlucky not to make the Australian team," he said.
"But again he's got a great opportunity as I said to show Mal Meninga what he's got against some very good teams and hopefully push his case for the Queensland team next year.
"From our point of view in Samoa, we'd only be too happy for him to play for us and then cement a spot in the Queensland team because that's what it's all about. If you look at last year [with] Milford, way he played for us at the World Cup certainly enhanced his career this year. He obviously got close to Queensland selection."