League great's son on hijack charges

The son of Kiwis rugby league legend Olsen Filipaina is alleged by police to be the frontman in a violent plot to hijack an armoured truck in Sydney.

John Allan Filipaina, 23, has been charged with two other men with conspiring to commit robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon, the Sun Herald newspaper reported yesterday.

The three were remanded in custody to appear in Central Local Court next month.

The Sun Herald said the alleged conspiracy to rob the cash-filled truck in Sydney's inner west came unstuck when heavily armed officers arrested Filipaina late on Wednesday.

Police say he and an unnamed accomplice intended tying up the truck's driver and passenger, taking their places and making off with more than $A100,000 ($120,600).

A Sydney court was told on Thursday that Khalid Zreika, 23, a guard for the targeted cash carrier Security Specialists Australia, was also instrumental in planning the crime.

After a reconnaissance run along the truck's route last Monday, Filipaina allegedly declared the group's best shot was to launch the hold-up on a Wednesday, the truck's most lucrative collection day.

Recorded conversations revealed Filipaina also had his eye on taking firearms from the company's guards, Ryde Local Court was told.

Olsen Filipaina transformed himself from a battling reserve-grade player with Sydney clubs Balmain, Easts and Norths into an integral part of the Kiwis, for whom he played 29 tests between 1978 and 1986.

- NZPA

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