Superstar Johnathan Thurston has backed the ARL Commission’s hardline stance to ban Andrew Fifita and Semi Radradra from the Australian team.
The trouble-plagued pair had their hopes of representing the Kangaroos on the Four Nations tour scuppered when the powers that be ruled they would not come under consideration because of concerns it would be a bad look for the game.
Fifita is under investigation by the NRL integrity unit after writing a message of support for convicted killer Kieran Loveridge on his wrist strapping while Radradra is awaiting trial on domestic violence charges.
The Rugby League Players Association said it had concerns Fifita and Radradra had been pre-judged however coach Mal Meninga’s decision received the backing of Thurston.
“It’s a stance the game is taking, we want to see more people and fans come through the gates and more people watching our game,” Thurston said at the launch of the Auckland Nines on Wednesday.
“If the game feels as though that’s the best decision to make, then as a senior player I fully appreciate what the game is doing and stand up for that.”
Fifita was a controversial omission from the Australian side after starring in Cronulla’s historic grand final win over Melbourne on Sunday.
He was also overlooked for Luke Lewis for man of the match in the grand final, however NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg dismissed suggestions he was ruled out of the running for the Clive Churchill Medal.
Greenberg said Fifita wasn’t considered for a green and gold jumper because of his history of poor behaviour, including abusing a referee at a junior match last year for which he was suspended for six weeks.
Radradra has flagged his intention to plead not guilty to charges of domestic violence against his former partner.
After the Fijian-born winger made his controversial debut in the mid-year Test against New Zealand, he was replaced by Penrith’s Josh Mansour for the Four Nations.
Greenberg said while he wasn’t pre-judging Radradra’s case, he was concerned it would prove a distraction.