NRL: Wests Tigers shoot down allegations of 'toxic culture'

Wests Tigers have shot down allegations of a toxic culture at the NRL club that came to the attention of the players' association last summer. Photo / Getty
Wests Tigers have shot down allegations of a toxic culture at the NRL club that came to the attention of the players' association last summer. Photo / Getty

Wests Tigers have shot down allegations of a toxic culture at the NRL club that came to the attention of the players' association last summer.

Three years after former player Mosese Fotuaiki committed suicide, News Corp Australia published on Sunday excerpts from a 2015 report produced by the Rugby League Players Assocation (RLPA).

The article quoted an unnamed player that alleged two more players considered taking their lives in 2015.

The joint merger club hit back on Sunday morning, describing the front-page article as "inaccurate" and "misleading", before threatening to sue.

"The Sunday Telegraph obtained a small portion of this confidential report and has decided to publish these unsubstantiated, and unconfirmed, claims," the Tigers said in a statement.

"The excerpts published by The Sunday Telegraph are a small portion of a much larger report undertaken by the RLPA, with these reports done on every NRL Club at the completion of each season, with both of these facts conveniently left out of the article.

"Due to the defamatory nature of The Sunday Telegraph's article Wests Tigers will be considering its legal options."

One unnamed player said the club failed to enhance player welfare following the death of Fotuaika 2013.

"Having already had a player take their own life a this club I am scared it will happened again," the player reportedly said in the report.

"This club hasn't learned anything from that ahppened with Moses. To be honest I think it has gotten worse. I know two players this year (2015) who have thought about suicide.

"The thought of it makes me sick."

The club on Friday announced the appointment of newly-retired player Dene Halatau as Culture and Leadership coordinator.

Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or talk@youthline.co.nz or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm) http://livechat.youthline.co.nz/mibew/chat?locale=en&style=youthline
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)

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