Cronulla push for rapid Fifita resolution
Cronulla Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman says the club is pressing as hard as it can for a quick resolution to an investigation into Fifita twins Andrew and David, who have been stood down pending accusations they allegedly abused a referee at a junior rugby league game.
The pair have each been barred from attending Penrith Junior Rugby League matches for 12 months over the alleged incident last Saturday, while the club stood the brothers down from NRL duties on Monday.
Gorman said the club was trying to gather as much in the way of information and supporting statements as it can, while the players must be allowed time to engage their own legal representatives.
"We're hopeful of getting that done very, very quickly," Gorman said on Wednesday.
"We are pressing it every minute of the day to try and get that done as quickly as we can so that whatever the outcomes are can be made public and we can move forward."
The brothers have been accused of physically threatening match officials, although some later reports suggest the pair will be disputing that they made physical threats, but Gorman said he wouldn't be drawn on the particulars at this stage.
"I don't really want to pre-empt the case, I don't want to prejudice it. I think there have been some prejudicial comments made by other parties in the last couple of days which haven't been helpful to the players trying to prepare properly for this," he said.
"I'd rather let that take its course. I have gone on the record and said there certainly is some debate in the players' minds about the facts as presented."
Gorman also stressed the club had a duty of care to the players while the process was ongoing.
"We have a major welfare focus on everyone in our club, obviously. There's a duty of care for all stakeholders in this and that's why we haven't made comments publicly about any of the stakeholders, whether it's been the match officials, the local association or our own players," he said.
While the pair appeared to be "fine" at this stage Gorman said they were obviously disappointed.
"They'll be doing training this [Wednesday] afternoon, they'll be doing some gym work this afternoon. They're obviously distressed and disappointed but we're working as hard as we can to keep their spirits up," he said.
Sharks skipper Paul Gallen did not want to comment on when the players would return but also hoped for a quick resolution.
"Hopefully [they'll be back this year]. That's not really a question I can answer," Gallen said.
"It's an issue that the NRL and the club are looking at at the moment and hopefully a decision gets made as quick as possible for everybody's sake."