Club pursue Tahu over racism

THE Northern United Rugby League Club has lodged an official complaint over allegations that Parramatta Eels star TimanaTahu racially vilified some of its players at the recent NSW Aboriginal Knockout.

As reported this week in The Northern Star, the dual international has been accused of racially vilifying players as young as 16 at the event, when he was playing for the Newcastle Yowies againstUnited. Tahu has vigorouslydenied the allegations.

United’s complaint comes just months after Tahu walked out of a NSW Origin camp after Andrew Johns called Queensland indigenous star Greg Inglis a ‘black c...’ during a team meeting.

It was expected that the United complaint would be sent via the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League to the Country Rugby League, but it bypassed bothorganisations and ended up in the hands of the Australian Rugby League.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr confirmed the complaint had been received in writing.

“It’s been decided that the matter will be referred to the Indigenous Council and controlled by chairman Smiley (William) Johnstone,” Mr Carr said.

“He will make an appointment to meet both parties separately and then he will form some recommendations after the meetings.

“The ARL’s vilification policy recommends some conciliationafter those meetings. Ideally that (the meetings) will happen sooner rather than later, but Smiley has other things he needs to do.”

Mr Carr admitted the matter has been a jurisdictional nightmare.

“The event was run by (BAC) Walgett and, while we assisted with insurance and personnel, it was not run by the CRL or the NSWRL,” he said.

“We also have an issue between a professional player, who is gov-erned by the NRL rules, and non-professional player with the CRL. That’s why we thought the Indigenous Council was most appropriate (to deal with it).”

When asked about the unusual nature of the complaint, with an indigenous player upset aboutremarks from another indigenous player, Mr Carr was circumspect.

“Racial vilification is racial vilification and what people need to understand, and I’m not pointing the finger at Timana in any way here, is what we found from the Johns and Timana incident is that when someone makes an inappropriate comment some may takeoffence,” he said.

“That’s the risk you take when you make an offensive comment. That’s something the game is trying to get across.”

Northern United have maintained their stance, despite a host of high-profile players at the carnival reportedly siding with Tahu.

Wests Tigers prop Daine Laurie, who played for United at the knockout, denied Tahu made any comments.

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