Cowboys back-rower Luciano Leilua has vowed to clear his name after he was charged by police regarding a domestic violence incident in Sydney's south-west on Monday afternoon.
Leilua's lawyer, Elias Tabchouri, advised media that Leilua was ‘upset' at the allegation that he assaulted his partner and smashed her phone during a heated confrontation.
Leilua was back in Sydney to prepare and pack for the Rugby League World Cup, where he had been named to represent Samoa. Reports now suggest that there is uncertainty over his role in the squad following the charges.
Leilua chose not to fly out with his team mates to begin preparations for the tournament, but it's believed he was likely unable to anyway with the legal matters still unresolved.
“I can confirm that Mr Leilua denies any wrongdoing and will be defending these matters vehemently,” Tabchouri told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Mr Leilua has never been charged with any matters of violence in the past and is upset by allegations that have been made against him, as he is opposed to violence of any type. It is not in his nature.”
Tabchouri also denied the existence of an AVO between the pair, at least as it currently stands.
“Despite the charges, there are no orders in place preventing Mr Leilua from residing with his partner at this stage.”
“At this stage it's unclear what the (World Cup) situation is. These matters are being determined as we speak.
“Mr Leilua chose voluntarily not to fly out with his teammates as scheduled, to allow these matters to be addressed.
“He is, however, very keen to represent his country.”
The NRL integrity unit is currently working with the Cowboys regarding the matter. While the incident would not see Leilua fall under the league's no-fault stand-down policy, the NRL does have the power to stand Leilua down If they see fit.
Leilua is due to appear in court on October 11, five days before the tournament begins.