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Dragons backflip on player punishment

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/08/2016 Steve Zemek

St George Illawarra have caved into player pressure and reinstated troubled pair Tim Lafai and New Zealand-born Siliva Havili.

The pair were stood down last week after their part in a drunken brawl in Wollongong and are scheduled to answer charges of affray and offensive behaviour in court in September.

However the club was facing a player revolt after a group of their teammates demanded to coach Paul McGregor that they be allowed to play and train.

The club's handling of the matter was also criticised by the Rugby League Players' Association who claimed they had been denied due process and demanded they be afforded the presumption of innocence.

The Dragons on Saturday back-flipped on their punishment, 12 days after standing them down.

"The St George Illawarra Dragons have announced that after consultation with the NRL integrity unit and both Tim Lafai and Siliva Havili, the players have been reinstated, in respect to club activities," the club said in a statement.

"Both players had been stood down from all Dragons' activities for breaching the club's code of conduct arising from their involvement in an incident which took place on Sunday July 24.

"Both players are now available to play if selected for the Illawarra Cutters in their NSW Cup fixture against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium Wollongong on Saturday."

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