Senior Wests Tigers players are fed up with Robert Lui’s ongoing off-field issues and want him removed from the club.
Players have spoken to me privately and find it impossible to justify or tolerate Lui’s arrest following last week’s Mad Monday festivities – in relation to a second alleged domestic incident with his partner Taleah Backo within the space of 12 months.
No matter how good a player the halfback is, his Tigers teammates believe there can be no excuse for hitting a woman. There has also been talk that Lui was at the centre of another Mad Monday incident. Lui was said to be upset with comments Tigers winger Beau Ryan made on stage during a comedy routine in their gathering at Leichhardt Oval.
This has been investigated by Tigers chief executive Stephen Humphreys, who says a karaoke machine was damaged but there was no specific information that Lui caused the damage.
There is no sadder or more disturbing situation in the NRL than the one facing Lui. He has the potential to be a great player – but he should never get the chance to reach his potential if found guilty of assaulting his partner.
There are some very serious issues in this relationship that I won’t go into – suffice to say it appears this situation has the potential to repeat itself time and again. Whatever frustration or anger Lui may have towards Backo could never justify his alleged actions. Last time she didn’t co-operate with police and you can bet the couple is already trying to get back together.
No matter what happens in this instance – the NRL will need to step in and boot Lui out of the game if he is found guilty. I had a long chat to Lui about his previous situation about two weeks ago. Here’s some of what he said: ”It was a hard time. I wanted to go back home [to Queensland], but the boys were there for me, especially Robbie Farah and the coach [Tim Sheens]. They were looking out for me. I wanted to go home. But my family is here and my little boy. I’ve left those hard times behind me. Now I need to repay the boys and the club for supporting me in that time.” While Lui is entitled to the presumption of innocence, his arrest is a terrible look for the game and unfortunately for Lui and the Tigers, it’s time for him to go home, forget footy and focus on being a decent man.