Former Wests Tiger Tim Simona is keen to return to the NRL two years after being indefinitely suspended for a betting scandal.
The 27-year old has spent the last two years completing a sessions with a gambling psychologist and working with several charities, including Camp Quality and the Salvation Army.
Simona is set to meet with the Rugby League Players Association in a bid to have his ban overturned.
“I have to have rugby league in my life.
“I go to the park with a football nearly every day and I dream of once again playing in the NRL. I want it more than anything.’’
The Sunday Telegraph has published the letter that Simona will present to the RLPA.
“The past two years have been the hardest of my life,’’ Simona’s letter read.
“I appreciate the invaluable lessons I have learnt, which have been many.
“I have established that my true friends have gone from in the hundreds to a handful. I have been cut off, laughed at, made fun of, accused of things I didn’t do.
“My family had relied on me and my income to pay for food, rent, bills and holidays.
“In my culture the children support the parents and relatives overseas and I have not been able to do that, I have let them down.
“They are everything, they’ve kept me positive, made me realise that I’m not a bad person.
“I appreciate life more, I take nothing for granted.’’
Simona was set to sign a $1.5 million contract with South Sydney before being deregistered by the league in March 2017. NRL CEO Todd Todd Greenberg said “it is very hard to imagine’’ Simona would ever be registered to play again.
Simona was also handed an 18-month good behaviour bond for selling signed jerseys to charities and keeping the money.
The Kiwis centre letter continues: “My intent at no stage was/has been to embarrass the game,’’
“I would never choose to do this journey and I hope no one I love or cared for would go on one remotely similar — it has been the most gut-wrenching, difficult, embarrassing, shitty, shaming, disappointing, emotional, isolating, surreal, regrettable, anxious, all to the point I didn’t wish to live.
“Thankfully, I have gotten this far with support and love of others who have believed in me — I seek the support and understanding of the NRL and wish to be given the opportunity to show to them I am a changed man and not the person that they have seen and believe me to be.’’
Two clubs have reportedly already shown interest in signing Simona should his ban get cleared.