South Sydney centre Kirisome Auva’a has been cleared by the NRL to return to rugby league this weekend, in the wake of his ban over a domestic violence issue.
Auva’a has been named in the Rabbitohs’ NSW Cup feeder side North Sydney to play Mount Pritchard at North Sydney Oval on Saturday.
The game will represent Auva’a’s return to rugby league after he was initially suspended indefinitely by the NRL in November last year.
A spokesman said the NRL was happy with Auva’a’s rehabilitation process which included counselling on issues including violence against women, abuse of alcohol and anger management.
“He has completed the necessary courses and everyone associated with him is pleased with his rehabilitation,” the spokesman told AAP.
However Auva’a is prohibited from returning to the NRL until his suspension ends on August 13.
“The suspension still stands,” the NRL spokesman said.
“But like Russell Packer he is being given the chance to return through a team environment in the NSW Cup and prepare for his comeback to the NRL.”
Auva’a pleaded guilty to two charges of recklessly causing serious injury and criminal damage over an incident that occurred in Melbourne in January 2014.
Magistrate Kate Hawkins described the incident as “devastating”.
In her victim impact statement Auva’a’s ex-girlfriend said she felt “sad, alone and stressed” after the attack, and that she spent weeks hiding the bruises from the attack.
The court heard Auva’a tossed his ex-girlfriend against a garage wall and punched holes in the walls of her home, after drinking heavily at a wedding.
The 23-year-old was given a two-year good behaviour bond and fined $3,000.
Auva’a sought leave to appeal his suspension in April but was denied. He last played in the Rabbitohs’ grand final win over Canterbury in October.
Packer is currently playing with St George Illawarra’s NSW Cup side Illawarra Cutters. He was permitted to return to the second tier competition in April following his year-long stint in jail for a vicious assault, but will not be re-admitted to the NRL until next season.
South Sydney did not reply to approaches for a comment on Auva’a’s return.