Tahu to be sacked over anthem comments
NSWRL will axe former NSW origin star Timana Tahu over "misguided" comments that Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker were axed from Origin II because of their national anthem boycott.
Slamming Tahu's inflammatory comments as "seriously misguided", NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said the former NSW star's remarks were on a "completely different page" to the values of the entire organisation, including Brad Fittler's NSW Blues.
In a column for NITV, Tahu questioned the motives behind dropping both indigenous stars.
While Tahu acknowledged the anthem protest wasn't the sole reason Mitchell and Walker were overlooked, he said the players' controversial stance played a role.
The indigenous pair were part of a group of players who vowed not to sing "Advance Australia Fair" before game one at Suncorp Stadium.
"I feel like Freddy's (Fittler) had pressure on him from the top," Tahu wrote.
"Even though there are selectors, the politics come into it and I feel like some old boys might have come in and shared their two cents with the coach.
"We are a country where a lot of people have come from overseas and made this place home. It's something that the boys involved had a strong feeling about it.
"Did it cost some of them their positions in the team? I think yes and no."
Tahu also delved into his own issues with the NSWRL, claiming he felt NSW "black-listed" him after he walked out on the side in 2010.
Only last month, Tahu was invited to help run a training session as part of the NSW pathways program alongside fellow "True Blues" Brett Hodgson and Matt Cooper.
Trodden said that, given Tahu's comments, he was unlikely to be involved with the state's rising stars again.
"I've read the comments which were attributed to him and if they're accurately attributed to him, he needs to have a serious think about what he said,'' Trodden told The Daily Telegraph.
"Because if he thinks that's what has happened, then that reflects more on him and the standards that he sets for himself than it does on Freddy or anybody to do with NSWRL.
"Freddy is an honourable man who would never let things like that get in the way of decisions that he makes on selections.
"If other people think that Freddy or anybody else involved with the NSWRL have that approach, then they're seriously misguided and they really need to reflect on what they said.
"He's attributing that standard to Freddy and that standard to NSWRL and he's seriously misguided in making statements like that.
"The absurdity of what he says is really demonstrated by the fact that Cody Walker and Latrell Mitchell weren't the only two in the NSW team who didn't sing the national anthem.
"If he genuinely believes that's the way the NSWRL treat people then he's on a completely different page from us and you wonder how someone who is on a completely different page can satisfactorily contribute to your organisation.''
So sensitive is the issue that NSW players were gagged from talking about Tahu's comment to media at Blues training while Fittler also brushed aside the comments.
It had also been suggested to The Daily Telegraph that an ARL commissioner had fronted Trodden with a similar view to Tahu's.
Trodden denied the assertion.