Dragons' Siliva Havili reinstated after threat of player revolt

Siliva Havili of the Dragons is back in the squad after the club caved to player pressure. Photo / Getty
Siliva Havili of the Dragons is back in the squad after the club caved to player pressure. Photo / Getty

Former Warriors player Siliva Havili has been reinstated to St George Illawarra's first grade team after the club caved into player pressure.

Havili and Tim Lafai 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."

A Manurewa Marlins junior, Havili signed with the Warriors and played in their Under 20s team in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. He also made his international debut for Tonga against Samoa in 2013.

He made his first grade debut for the Warriors at hooker the following season and earned a surprise call-up to the Kiwis for the 2014 Anzac Day test, coming off the bench in the 30-18 loss.

Last year he signed a two-year deal with the Dragons, joining them for the 2016 season.

- AAP and NZ Herald

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