Idris packs for Penrith as Blair hands himself over
AFTER signing towering centre Jamal Idris to a five-year contract in 2012, former Gold Coast Titans managing director Michael Searle said the deal was "an important step in the planning for the future of the club".
Yesterday those plans were in disarray after the club agreed to release the 23-year-old on compassionate grounds to be closer to his ill mother in Sydney.
Shortly after the announcement, Penrith released a statement saying it had signed Idris on a three-year-deal.
To compound the Titans' problems, a warrant was issued for the arrest of recruit Maurice Blair yesterday morning after the former Melbourne Storm centre failed to appear in the Maryborough Magistrates' Court.
The 29-year-old was charged with obstructing police and drinking in a public place after an incident in Maryborough just before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Blair subsequently handed himself in to Southport police yesterday afternoon. He later appeared in Southport Magistrates' Court where he pleaded guilty to the charges, and was convicted and fined $400.
Titans chief executive Graham Annesley said while the club was disappointed to lose Idris, the decision had been made with the best interests of the player at heart.
"We are dealing with people's lives and, at times, we have to put the best interests of people first," he said.
Idris is extremely close to his mother, Alana Simon, forging strong bonds as a child when they were homeless and living out of a car in Forster, on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales.
"For personal reasons, I have decided it would be best to be closer to my family as my mum has been ill for the past year and it's been difficult living interstate. I wish the club all the best and am looking forward to the opportunity with the Panthers," Idris said.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Titans despite their star leaving, with Penrith releasing flying centre Brad Tighe to join the Gold Coast club on a two-year contract.
Tighe, 29, has played 157 matches for the Panthers and Newcastle since making his debut in 2005.
Canterbury Bulldogs recruit Reni Maitua appeared in Waverley Local Court in Sydney yesterday on a charge of assaulting a taxi driver in the early hours of November 25 last year.
His lawyer, Danny Eid, entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of his client, and asked that the matter be dealt with under Section 32 of the Mental Health Act. Under that section, charges can be dismissed, either entirely or with conditions, including undergoing treatment.
Maitua's case will return to court on February 18.