Sport Rugby League Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona suspended for gambling breach
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Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona suspended for gambling breach

Tim Simona betting
Tim Simona has been stood down by the NRL ahead of Wests Tigers trial match. Photo: Getty
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Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona faces being rubbed out of the NRL over a betting scandal.

Simona is accused of breaking the game’s gambling code and the governing body on Friday issued the 25-year-old with a notice to cancel his registration.

Simona will have to front the NRL integrity unit to salvage his career after the Tigers centre allegedly made numerous bets on rugby league matches, according to a Fairfax report.

The report suggested Simona’s alleged infringements were considered isolated incidents and not related to the match-fixing investigation that was announced last year.

While the NRL did not reveal the specific allegations against Simona, it has sought a hard line over infractions of its betting laws and is threatening to tear up his contract.

Simona has the right to appeal but has been barred from training and playing, including being withdrawn from Friday night’s trial match against North Queensland at Campbelltown.

The NRL betting code states “No NRL employee, NRL club employee, player, player manager or game official is allowed to participate, or be directly or indirectly involved in any way, in gambling in relation to rugby league.

“Or be involved directly or indirectly, in the provision of information not already in the public domain that might assist another person to gamble in relation to rugby league.”

Simona was recently linked with an immediate move to Gold Coast and said he had received interest from rival clubs.

The Tigers are facing a battle to get under the salary cap before the start of the year and Simona’s exit could ease their woes.

Tim Simona betting
Simon runs the ball in last September’s round 26 match against the Canberra Raiders. Photo: Getty

Despite being just seven weeks into the new year, it’s the second scandal to strike the club.

Forward Kyle Lovett last month was stood down after pleading guilty to drug possession having been caught with cocaine on a night out.

The club said on Friday in a statement: “Wests Tigers have been made aware that player Tim Simona is currently under investigation by the NRL integrity unit in regards to allegations of breaches of the rules relating to gambling on NRL matches.

“The club will be making no further comment until the investigation is complete.”

The Samoan international has played 79 games for the Tigers since making his debut in 2011.

In 2014, the NRL banned five players after they were found guilty of betting on games involving their clubs.

Ethan Lowe, Cody Nelson, Hymel Hunt and Slade Griffin were all stood down for two matches for gambling on games involving their clubs but which they did not play.

Manly premiership-winning winger David Williams was rubbed out for the rest of the year for gambling on several games including those in which he played.

While none was implicated in match-fixing or spot-fixing, the NRL promised a zero-tolerance policy.

The NSW police organised crime squad last year began probing match-fixing allegations and investigating several matches involving Manly.

In 2011, Canterbury forward Ryan Tandy was fined $4000 and put on a good behaviour bond for his role in a spot-fixing plot.

He was found guilty of purposely giving away a penalty in the hope of conceding a goal however the sting failed to come off after North Queensland took a quick tap and scored a try.

Controversial former South Sydney player John Elias admitted in his biography that he had attempted to fix a game against Western Suburbs but the deal fell through.

– AAP

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