Joel Monaghan

Joel Monaghan has paid for his mistake and enough time has passed for him to return to the Canberra Raiders and the NRL, his former teammates say.

Less than a year after quitting his NRL contract after a Mad Monday prank went horribly wrong, the Raiders are keen to get Monaghan back to the nation’s capital, possibly as early as next year.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner confirmed the club had expressed interest in re-signing the former representative winger. However, Monaghan, 29, has a contract with the Warrington Wolves in the English Super League until the end of 2014 and Furner conceded it would be difficult for him to get an early release.

The Raiders are hunting for an experienced outside back to add to their youthful back line. Retiring captain Alan Tongue said now could be the perfect time for Monaghan to return. ”We all make mistakes and you’ve got to learn from it and move on,” he said. ”Joel’s got that finishing touch and can score tries … he would be a huge asset to the team.

”He’s well and truly paid for it, his name was tarnished through it all and he did it really tough. It was probably good for him to get away from it for a bit, but everyone knows he and his family are wonderful people.”

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Tongue and Raiders five-eighth Terry Campese could only watch as Monaghan’s world was destroyed when a lewd photo of him and a dog went viral on social media.

”I’m sure if the opportunity came up he’d love to come back, and it was underestimated how much the team missed him this year,” Campese said.

”It was a silly party trick that went wrong, he wanted to turn things around and I think he’s done that and deserves a chance to come back.”

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald