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Tim Simona faces NRL deregistration after alleged breaches of gambling rules

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 4 days ago Michael Chammas

Tim 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.

Fairfax Media understands Simona, who has been shopped around to rival clubs for the past month and had been linked with a move to the Gold Coast, is believed to have made multiple minor bets on NRL games, some of which involved the Wests Tigers.

The NRL has issued the 25-year-old with a notice of intention to cancel his registration, giving Simona the chance to front integrity unit boss Nick Weeks to plead his case.

It is understood Simona's alleged infringements are considered isolated incidents and not related to the match-fixing investigation that was announced last year.

The magnitude of the indiscretion was described as "very serious" by a source close to the matter.

Under the NRL's betting code, "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."

The Tigers were unaware of the NRL's investigation into the centre, only informed of their findings on Thursday.

It is understood the NRL received a tip-off informing them of Simona's betting activity.

"The NRL today issued a notice of intention to cancel the registration of Wests Tigers player Tim Simona," an NRL statement issued on Friday afternoon said.

"The notice relates to alleged breaches of the rules relating to gambling on NRL matches. Simona will now be prohibited from training or playing with the club until the matter is finalised.

Tim Simona faces deregistration from the NRL. © Getty Images Tim Simona faces deregistration from the NRL. The Tigers centre has five business days to respond to the  notice.

The last high-profile player to be banned for betting on matches is former Origin and Australian international, David Williams.

The Manly winger was banned for half the season and struggled to revive his career after he was found to have betted on several NRL matches, including games he was involved in for the Sea Eagles.

He was one of five players caught by the NRL, including Ethan Lowe, Cody Nelson, Hymel Hunt and Slade Griffin – who were stood down for breaching the code's rules.

The news of Simona's potential contract termination comes a day after Tigers forward Kyle Lovett fronted the club board after being charged with possession of cocaine in December.

The Tigers back-rower, who was given a six-month good behaviour bond after fronting court, is likely to survive the axe given he has no prior infringements to his name.

In an interview with Fairfax Media this week, Simona addressed the question marks over his future at the Tigers as the club looked to offload him elsewhere.

"I'm just concentrating on good footy here at the Tigers," Simona said on Monday.

"The rest is my manager's job – that's what he gets paid for. I'm just focusing on playing good footy. I've obviously heard a few rumours going around but I'm still signed here and concentrating on playing good footy. Obviously what we do is a business but I'm not too worried at the moment."

Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe said: "It is everyone's responsibility to uphold the integrity of the game. As a club, our focus is on the welfare and wellbeing of Tim."

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