Halatau allays Tigers' welfare concerns
Veteran Wests Tigers back-rower Dene Halatau has backed the player welfare system in place, and is happy to have re-signed with the club he won the 2005 NRL premiership with.
With his upcoming contract involving both playing and his work within the Tigers' player welfare division, Halatau spoke on the contrary towards – as News Limited put it over the weekend – an independent report into the "abuse of players’ rights and conditions".
Set for his third season since returning for his second stint at the Tigers, Halatau expressed his love for the club.
"I don't think that's the truth. I came back to the Tigers for a reason, because I love the club and I had a great time in my first stint. Nothing's changed in that respect the second time," Halatau said.
"I think [player welfare] is handled well. The NRL has good structures and systems across every club and they keep an eye on that from the top level.
"We have a couple of good guys here and I do a little bit with them as well to help out so they're doing a fine job."
Coach Jason Taylor also denied claims of player welfare mismanagement and said his relationship with most other players hasn't been damaged by events surrounding former captain Robbie Farah.
"It is right as a club that we haven't had a great rating as far as our welfare goes in the past. When I say in the past I mean in the 2014 season rating of our welfare – because the NRL look at that with every club," Taylor said.
"But we are confident we have improved that this year and we'll be improving that going forward. As far as my relationship with the players, I stand by it's a really strong relationship I have with majority of players.
"As a coach you have tough conversations with individuals and the welfare arm steps in to sort any guys out who may need some help dealing with tough conversations and tough decisions."
Meanwhile Halatau added the happiness and welfare of the club's youth was integral to the Tigers' future success.
"They're only young still like 20, 21 years old. They're young guys and success may take a few years - you don't turn out to be a superstar at 21 – so it'll take some time," he said.
"It's no secret the youth in the club and the talent they have. Keeping those guys around and making sure they develop into quality first grade footballers and consistent footballers is going to be the way forward for us.
"Hopefully with myself being around and being experienced alongside a couple of others, we can bring these guys through and make sure they're happy and stay with the club long term, and hopefully have some success."