Gold Coast Titans’ Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Kalifa Faifai Loa stood down, facing court over allegedly arranging to supply cocaine


I’m sick to death of sport and drugs. How greedy are the players (all 3 codes will be caught up in this for sure) Patting young starry eyes kids on the head, signing autographs whilst on their mobiles trying to score coke and it seems whilst they have cocaine habits.

It is disgusting and ruining sports, who can our kids look up to these days. they are falling like ten pins for gross acts, greedy acts, illegal acts the list goes on. treating women like shit, taking drugs, gambling, getting so drunk they perform all kinds of things…God help sport in Oz.

23/02/15

Representative stars Greg Bird and Dave Taylor are among five Gold Coast Titans players to have been stood down after being implicated in the drugs scandal currently engulfing the club.

Bird, Taylor and winger Kalifa Faifai Loa were stood down on Sunday after they and former Titan Joe Vickery were issued with notices to appear in court for allegedly arranging the supply of cocaine.

It comes two days after it was revealed on Friday that hooker Beau Falloon, Jamie Dowling and the Queensland Reds’ Karmichael Hunt would also face court as part of the same Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation into drug trafficking.

The CCC released a statement confirming four men had been served with notices to appear in court on counts of supplying drugs, one of whom faces seven counts.

Titans chief executive Graham Annesley told reporters on Sunday the players would be forced to front the board and “explain why action should not be taken against them for reputational damage the club has incurred”.

“We expect that that will take a little bit of time because at the moment we have very little information to make that assessment,” Annesley said.

I apologise to everyone associated with the game [and] everyone that’s trying to take this game forward for these setbacks that are holding the game back.

Graham Annesley

“But over the coming days we hope we will have more information and the players will be able to appear before the board.”

Taylor, Bird and Faifai Loa will face court on March 9.

“I’ve run out of words to explain it,” Annesley said.

“Let’s not forget these players haven’t been found guilty of anything … [but] to be constantly dragged through these types of scandals is incredibly damaging to the club.”

The scandal comes two months after Bird was removed as co-captain after a public urination incident in Byron Bay.

Despite a number of controversies hitting the cash-strapped club in recent times, Annesley stressed he would not be abandoning the team.

“This is another bad day for the club, and it’s a bad day for the game,” he added.

“I apologise to everyone associated with the game [and] everyone that’s trying to take this game forward for these setbacks that are holding the game back.”

A CCC statement on Friday said Hunt, Falloon and Dowling, as well as an unidentified 22-year-old woman, would appear in Southport Magistrates Court on March 5.

The NRL’s Integrity Unit will help the Titans decide the fate of any players found guilty.

Titans coach, Neil Henry, says Falloon and Dowling will face further sanctions if they are found guilty in court.

“The Integrity Unit are across this as well. They have a big say in what happens in these situations and that’s fine,” Henry said after the Titans lost a trial game against the Cowboys in Cairns on Saturday night.

“We’ll have to be guided by what they recommend as well and that’s how it has been for every team.”

Still without a major sponsor for the 2015 season, the Titans no longer have a training base after leaving The Southport School as a result of the allegations against Falloon and Dowling.


Gold Coast Titans crisis: Five burning questions surrounding the club as the drug saga unfolds

NRL boss Dave Smith disappointed for the fans

NRL boss Dave Smith disappointed for the fans

CAN the Titans survive the cocaine crisis? Will the five players charged ever play again?

There are a series of key issues Graham Annesley will have to tackle as the drug saga involving five of the Gold Coast’s current players unfolds.

We look at five burning questions hovering over the Titans.

1. What are the futures for the five Titans players charged?

Even with the presumption of innocence in the courts, Titans CEO Graham Annesley has made it clear the five current players facing drug charges are in line for the sack.

Addressing the media on Sunday, Annesley said the club would be conducting “a separate contractual process” and would ask Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Beau Falloon, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Jamie Dowling to meet with the board and “explain why action should not be taken against them for the reputational damage the club has incurred as a result of the players putting themselves in a position where they have been charged.”

Is Dave Taylor’s NRL career over?

Is Dave Taylor’s NRL career over? Source: News Corp Australia

Annesley made it clear that the Titans are still largely in the dark when it comes to the details of the investigation and how the five players charged fit within it, and as those details become clearer the club’s decision will become easier.

But if the players are indefinitely stood down or sacked they’ll have to rely on an acquittal in court to ever play in the NRL again.

TITANS FACE FOUR-YEAR DRUG BANS

BIRD, TAYLOR CHARGES ‘JUST TIP OF ICEBERG’

ANNESLEY WANTS TITANS TO REVEAL TRUTH

2. Do the Titans have a future?

Unequivocally, yes. If the NRL ever had an excuse to drop the Titans like a hot pie, this is it.

Commercially, the club’s never been a bigger basket case. Sponsors are thin on the ground, and in Bird one of the faces of the Titans has been caught up in an alleged cocaine ring.

Roll that in with below par on-field results and declining crowds over the past three seasons and you’ve got all the hallmarks of a club sliding into oblivion.

The good thing for the fans is the NRL is having none of it.

Dave Smith has used the opportunity over the past few days to give the NRL’s full backing to the Titans and ruled out relocation.

Dave Smith has been resolute in his support for the Titans.

Dave Smith has been resolute in his support for the Titans. Source: News Corp Australia

“The fans deserve a team on the Gold Coast and they will have a team on the Gold Coast,” Smith told Fox Sports News on Monday.

Titans co-owner Darryl Kelly has also reaffirmed his commitment to the club and while his millions are invested, he’s not going to allow the club to fall over.

3. Does the NRL have a drug problem?

Gary Belcher on Gold Coast Titans scandal

Yes and no. The Courier-Mail’s chief sports writer Robert Craddock used the drug charges levelled at the five Titans players to launch into a fascinating opinion piece on why NRL players and other elite sportspeople choose party drugs over booze.

CRADDOCK: WHY PLAYERS CHOOSE DRUGS OVER BOOZE

In it, he quoted a senior Brisbane football coach who Craddock had spoken to years before: “If you were a player why wouldn’t you take them? Unlike beer, you don’t put on weight and fail a pinch test. They are not that expensive.

“They get out of your system quickly. You don’t get a hangover. You don’t get photographed at a venue with a beer in your hand.

“You don’t get drug-tested very often and when you do you get three strikes before you are in big trouble. Whoever gets three strikes?’’

Five current Gold Coast Titans charged

Five current Gold Coast Titans charged

The three strikes policy the unnamed coach was referring to is only applied in the AFL, but as Craddock also points out, NRL Immortal Andrew Johns has admitted to being a serial ecstasy user for 12 years yet he never failed any of his 17 NRL drug tests.

So, in short, yes, the NRL and other codes in Australia most likely do have a drug problem but as NRL boss Dave Smith has pointed out, it’s also a societal problem.

“I don’t think this is specifically to do with sport, I don’t think this is specifically to do with rugby league, I think it’s a cultural, society-wide thing and frankly it turns my stomach.”

 

4. Is the DCE deal dead in the water?

Daly Cherry-Evans seems less likely to go to the Titans after recent events.

Daly Cherry-Evans seems less likely to go to the Titans after recent events. Source: News Corp Australia

It’s probably too early to call it dead but at best this deal is on life support.

One of the strongest components of the Titans’ pitch to Daly Cherry-Evans was the club’s culture and how the star halfback could contribute to it as a leader.

While the Titans have had a good track record for dealing with players who had lost their way in life or been sacked by other clubs, this scandal clearly erodes a lot if not all of that good work.

Cherry-Evans will now be looking at the Titans as a club with a battered reputation and with some massive question marks over the playing roster, with two of their top five players unlikely to play again, at least in the foreseeable future.

A premiership tilt frankly looks five years away, if you want to be a giddy optimist.

On the flip side, Annesley has an opportunity to convince DCE of the benefits of a wide-scale clean-out and the potential to build a team around the star halfback.

But to get the in-demand playmaker over the line, Annesley is now in a position where he will likely have to add some numbers to an already massive deal.

5. Has anyone enhanced their reputation?

It’s been a trying few days for Graham Annesley but he’s conducted himself with distincti

It’s been a trying few days for Graham Annesley but he’s conducted himself with distinction. Source: CourierMail

It’s pretty easy to point out whose reputation has been battered by this whole messy saga, but it also needs to be pointed out that at least two people who have had theirs enhanced.

The first is Annesley. Already a highly rated administrator, Annesley’s honest, forthright and sometimes emotional approach to this situation must be commended.

While many others would be ducking the media, he’s been at the coalface taking the heat and providing everyone with the proper assurances that the fans and the club would come first and the issues that needed to be dealt with would be done so in a professional manner.

Neil Henry, while not quite as visible, has been a tower of strength for his staff and his players and has enhanced his reputation as a leader of men who is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the best out of a bad situation.

Graham Annesley: Hard for the Titans to recover

Graham Annesley: Hard for the Titans to recover

Karmichael Hunt stood down for Queensland Reds’s next game over allegedly arranging supply of cocaine

Updated Fri at 6:48pm

Karmichael Hunt arrives at his home yesterday after the cocaine claims exploded.

Karmichael Hunt arrives at his home yesterday after the cocaine claims exploded.

Queensland Reds star recruit Karmichael Hunt has been stood down after being identified allegedly arranging the supply of cocaine.

The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) released a statement on Friday morning saying on Thursday a 28-year-old man from Hendra was served with a Notice to Appear in Court to face four counts of supplying a dangerous drug.

Hunt made his Super Rugby debut against the Brumbies in Canberra last Friday and was named to start at full-back for the Reds against the Western Force at Lang Park on Saturday evening.

But according to a Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) statement: “It has been determined by the QRU, ARU (Australian Rugby Union) and the Rugby Union Players’ Association and after discussion with Karmichael that it would be best for his welfare that he is not available for selection this weekend.”

The statement also said the period in question was between September 1 and October 3 last year and that Hunt had not been arrested or charged.

The CCC will allege Hunt is among three men and one woman who arranged for the supply of cocaine for personal use or to on-supply to friends and colleagues.

A 24-year-old man from Burleigh Waters, a 27-year-old man from Mermaid Waters and a 22-year-old woman from Mermaid Waters were identified along with Hunt contacting the syndicate and allegedly arranging for the supply of cocaine.

NRL club the Gold Coast Titans later on Friday stood down Beau Falloon, 27, and Jamie Dowling, 24, pending court appearances for drug offences, set for the Southport Magistrates Court on March 5.

The CCC said it was unable to comment further due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The CCC’s investigation focused on a cocaine trafficking syndicate operating in south-east Queensland, which resulted in charges being laid against former Queensland rugby league player Jason Smith.

Smith and Toowoomba restaurateur Jason Wood have been accused of trafficking 280 grams of cocaine, also between June and December last year.

Another former NRL player, Matt Seers, also faces 15 counts of supplying a dangerous drug and one count of trafficking a dangerous drug after being arrested in January as part of a joint investigation between Queensland police, New South Wales police and the CCC.

The Reds cancelled a scheduled media conference involving captain James Slipper this morning but released a joint statement with the ARU outlining they are both making inquiries into the reports about Hunt.

Hunt part of Reds’ leadership group

Hunt was named among the Reds leadership group in January, having been appointed vice-captain only months after joining the squad.

“I’ve considered myself a leader from a young age,” Hunt said last month.

“I have been around great leaders since I was a 17-year-old at the Broncos with (Shane) Webcke, (Gorden) Tallis, (Darren) Lockyer.

“I’ve been a part of the Origin and Test sides, I’ve played alongside some great leaders and obviously my own leadership skills have developed over the years.

“So there’s plenty of experiences I’ve been through and I’ve seen that can help the group and help the younger brigade coming through.”

Hunt made his debut in the NRL with the Brisbane Broncos as a 17-year-old in 2004 and represented Queensland at State of Origin level on 10 occasions before announcing a shock switch to the AFL and the Gold Coast Suns in 2009.

With the Suns entering the national competition in 2011, Hunt played a short stint with French Top 14 rugby union club Biarritz, for whom he appeared in the 2009/10 Heineken Cup Final.

The Suns released a statement on Friday morning.

“The Gold Coast Suns have been made aware of charges laid against Karmichael Hunt through the media reports this morning,” the AFL club said.

“As this matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to make any comment.”

After three years in the AFL, Hunt returned to rugby union for what was supposed to be a more long-term commitment prior to the 2015 season.

Police releasing more CCTV footage on betting Scandal


POLICE will today release new CCTV photographs of punters placing bets as they escalate their investigation into the NRL betting scandal.

Detectives yesterday laid three new charges against Canterbury Bulldogs forward Ryan Tandy and also charged player agent Sam Ayoub and former star John Elias over an alleged attempted betting sting on the Cowboys-Bulldogs NRL game on August 21 last year.

They face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. Tandy has entered not guilty pleas to the charges and all three men will vigorously fight the allegations.

“These are serious allegations which go to the heart of the game, and ultimately erode public confidence,” investigation head Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said.

This morning, police launched a public appeal to help identify four people depicted in CCTV footage who attended Sydney betting facilities in Beaconsfield, Ashfield and in the Queensland city of Townsville.

Police are not suggesting the people in the footage have engaged in unlawful activity but believe they may be able to assist detectives.

In the footage, one man is seen placing a bet at a facility on Botany Road at Beaconsfield between 11am and 11.20am on August 20.

He was described as being of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean appearance, of slim build, with short black hair, aged in his late twenties and wearing a dark suit, light shirt and black shoes.

In another length of footage, a second man is seen placing a bet at a facility on Liverpool Road in Ashfield between 5.20pm and  5.36pm on August 20.

He was described as being of white/European appearance, of medium/solid build, with grey hair, aged in his late forties to early fifties and wearing a dark long sleeved shirt, black shorts and glasses.

A third piece of footage shows two men placing a bet at a hotel on Sturt Street in Townsville between 4.16pm and 4.22pm on the same day.

The first man is described as being of white/European appearance, of muscular build, with a beard/goatee, aged in his 20s and wearing a yellow polo-style shirt, black baseball cap with a motif on the front.

The second man was described as being of white/European appearance, of slim build, with short brown hair, aged in his twenties and wearing a black t-shirt with a large motif on the front.

“We’ll be calling for public assistance to identify more people,” Superintendent Katsogiannis said.

On a day that shook the rugby league world just a week out from the 2011 premiership kick-off, the probe into the betting scandal widened, with another match – Ryan Tandy’s Bulldogs debut against the Titans on June 18 last year – also under scrutiny.

Bulldogs star Tandy appeared in court yesterday to fight allegations of lying to the State Crime Commission about his involvement in betting on two NRL matches last year.

Three new charges were served on the 29-year-old star at Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, with one of the fresh allegations relating to the earlier game between the Gold Coast Titans and the Bulldogs in June 2010.

The two other charges relate to giving false evidence.

Tandy’s solicitor Danny Eid entered pleas of not guilty to all four of the charges on his client’s behalf. Tandy was granted police bail just hours after his arrest.

Elias’s brother George, a lawyer, told The Daily Telegraph: “John’s got no involvement in these allegations.

“He’d actually like to thank the two detectives and police at Bankstown for the courtesy they showed his mother and family in the investigation.”

NRL boss David Gallop warned that anyone found to be involved in match-fixing would be out of the game for life.

“This [the arrests] is a seriously alarming development,” Gallop said of yesterday’s arrests.

“Anyone who’s suspected of being involved in fixing a game or an element of a game is going to find themselves charged by the police and their place in the game I would say will disappear.

“Life bans have got to be on the cards for that kind of thing. Anyone involved in [match-fixing] needs to know that the penalties are going to be severe if they’re proven to be true.”

Related Coverage

Match Fixing Scandal – Tandy Charged, Sam Ayoub and John Elias arrested


FORMER first grade footballer John Elias and player agent Sam Ayoub were today arrested as the NRL betting scandal deepened.

They are finally rounding up these cheating greeding players. Bad enough to try and cheat in a high profile sport, and then be caught out and still lie, come on boys, man up and admit you stuffed up, you all look ridiculous.Tandy has to be banned for LIFE from any sport forever, and the other cronies involved should get time in jail…But there is MORE TO COME

No support: the Bulldogs will not provide Ryan Tandy with any support for his legal bills

The arrests came as police laid a further three charges against Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy when he appeared in court today.

Elias, 48, of Punchbowl was arrested at 9.45am by police attached to a special taskforce set up to investigate the alleged betting scam.

Sam Ayoub, 49, Tandy’s manager,  was also arrested when he presented himself at Campise police station. Ayoub’s business offices in Leichhardt were also raided. Both men are expected to be charged later today and appear in court. The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged illegal betting activity surrounding the Round 24 NRL match between the Bulldogs and the Cowboys last year.

Tandy, 23, faced court today charged giving false and misleading information to a law enforcement agency. He denied lying to the NSW Crime Commission regarding his involvement in an alleged betting scandal. He was arrested last month following a probe by the racing and casino investigation unit.

The 29-year pleaded not guilty in Sydney’s Downing Centre to four counts of providing misleading evidence to the Crime Commission. Police today laid an additional three charges against Tandy in relation to three separate incidents relating to giving false/misleading evidence at a NSW Crime Commission hearing.

Tandy appeared today charged with giving evidence that was false or misleading at two Crime Commission hearings. The other charges served on the 29-year-old forward at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court this morning included fresh allegations relating to an earlier game between the Gold Coast Titans and Tandy’s Bulldogs in June 2010, two months before the now infamous Townsville match. Tandy’s solicitor Danny Eid entered pleas of not guilty to all four charges on his client’s behalf.

“He gave false evidence about having placed a bet on an NRL club that the club he was playing for was involved in, namely the Bulldogs vs Titans on June 18,” a police document before the court says.

Detectives from the Racing and Casino investigation unit have also accused Tandy of giving false evidence about “a conversation discussing his position on the field for the kick-off in the North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury Bulldogs match on August 21, 2010.”

The third new charge relates to lies Tandy allegedly told the hearing about his betting activity and access to his TAB account. It followed an early hearing on January 20, where police allege Tandy gave false evidence about his betting activities with a man, former journalist John Schell.

Tandy remains on bail and his matter will return to court next month. Tandy’s solicitor Danny Eid entered the not guilty pleas as his client sat silently in the front row of the court.

If convicted Tandy faces up to five years in jail.

Related Coverage


Dodgy NRL player manager Sam Ayoub arrested today over match Fixing

Ex player and cheat John Elias was arrested today over the Match Fixing Saga

Police Corruption on the Gold Coast


Police Corruption and rorts rife on Gold Coast

SERIOUS charges are set to be laid against 10 people, including current and former police, after allegations of Gold Coast police using drugs, associating with criminals and turning a blind eye to crimes including nightclub drug rapes.

Six police are also facing disciplinary action as a result of the Crime and Misconduct Commission‘s Operation Tesco probe into Gold Coast police misconduct.

The first day of Operation Tesco’s public hearings has heard explosive evidence of Coast police stroking the Gold Coast’s dark underbelly.

In his opening address, counsel assisting the inquiry, John Allen, said Operation Tesco was sparked after eyewitness accounts of  Gold Coast police taking drugs and being paid bribes by criminals for tip-offs.

Mr Allen said while the allegations were not proven, they were a ‘significant trigger’ for Tesco which had uncovered ‘significant evidence’ of police having improper associations with criminals and providing them with confidential information.

The inquiry was told drugs including 30 ecstasy pills and two bags of amphetamine were found during a raid in January this year on a Brisbane apartment where a Gold Coast police officer codenamed G7, and associates including a suspected drug supplier, were staying.

During secret hearings, officer G7 admitted to taking ecstasy, using and supply ‘black market‘ steroids and receiving $100 drink cards at Surfers Paradise nightclubs and improperly processing bouncer licence applications.

Officer G7 had also admitted to using the police computer to do criminal checks on girlfriends.

Another officer, D1, admitted to associating with drug dealers and said the receipt of free drinks was ‘common knowledge’ among senior police. He said Gold Coast police also received free McDonald’s meals and tickets to Gold Coast Titans games.

The hearing was also told that the use of ‘blue light taxis’ to ferry off-duty officers, friends and family to and from nightclubs and social functions was a longstanding and accepted practice among Gold Coast police.

Mr Allen said there were reports some police whistleblowers were ‘harassed, intimidated, victimised and humiliated’ for co-operating with the inquiry.

He said the CMC expected to lay charges against one current and one former officer and recommend disciplinary action against a further six officers.

“Criminal charges are also expected to be laid against eight civilians, most of those being in connection with serious drug offences,” he said.

The hearing is set to run for five days and will continue this afternoon with the first police witnesses.