NRL bans Auva’a after domestic violence case
SYDNEY (AP) — South Sydney center Kirisome Auva’a has been banned for at least nine months by the National Rugby League after pleading guilty to recklessly causing serious injury and criminal damage in a domestic violence case.
The NRL released a statement Thursday announcing the ban and saying Auva’a, a member of South Sydney’s 2014 NRL premiership-winning squad, could not return to the game “until he has demonstrated behavioral change designed to prevent the recurrence of violent behavior toward women.”
Auva’a pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an incident involving his former girlfriend in January and last Friday appeared in a court and received a two-year suspended sentence.
“Auva’a will be required to complete a secondary prevention counselling program adapted to his particular needs and covering issues including violence against women, alcohol abuse and anger management,” the NRL statement said. “The NRL will not consider an application from Auva’a to have his suspension lifted for at least nine months. His suitability to return to the game will be determined by an NRL panel which will rigorously review his progress.”
NRL chief executive Dave Smith said any re-offending by Auva’a would result in a permanent ban, adding: “Everyone needs to understand that if you are violent against women there is no place for you in rugby league.”
The NRL’s handling of the case attracted criticism, with some arguing the game’s national governing body should have taken action earlier.
South Sydney initially fined the Samoa-born player 2,000 Australian dollars ($1,750) and suspended him for seven days. The club issued a statement Thursday saying it supported the NRL sanction.
“We will work closely with Kirisome on his rehabilitation, as we have since the incident occurred back in January,” South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson said. “Kirisome has now received punishments from three different bodies and we will continue our duties to ensure he is educated and supported so as to never commit an offence like this again.”