General Ruben Wiki: Contesting the charge was worth it

warriors4life_old

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From nzherald.co.nz

By Ruben Wiki

It has been a difficult week for me after my trip to the judiciary and a difficult week for the club after they sacked Misi Taulapapa.

It was pretty disappointing to be charged with using my knees in a tackle on Corey Parker in the first place but to be charged with a grade five offence - the highest there is - was difficult to stomach.

Anyone who knows me well will realise I am a hard but fair player. I might have made something of an annual pilgrimage to the judiciary since my first time there in 1993 but none of my appearances have been for malicious play.

I admit I have been caught out through the years by committing head-high tackles or dangerous throws but they were split-second mistakes when a player, usually someone younger than me, tries to step me. Fatigue sets in or I'm wrong-footed and that's when I get in trouble.

But to be accused of deliberately kneeing a player in the back was extremely disappointing. It was as if I was being accused of jumping off the ropes and falling on Parker, like a professional wrestler.

I guess people assume I'm a dirty player because of the number of times I have appeared before the judiciary, much like Adrian Morley and Michael Crocker. I think I'm a lot like Morley and Crocker, who play hard but fair.

There's usually an assumption someone is guilty when they are charged and, while it was a risk to contest the charge, I felt that it was worth taking. The fact I was cleared proved that.

I know the Broncos were pretty upset about the fact I got off but I'm putting it behind me and they need to as well. It is a physical game we play and sometimes people get hurt.

It was also unfortunate what happened to Misi but he has only himself to blame. Everything seemed to be going so well for him after he made his debut this season but you can't afford to break team discipline. Rules are there for a reason.

Of course Misi is not the first to get into trouble because of alcohol and he will not be the last but guys need to learn that they can't drink in public and certainly not drink to excess.

When I first started at Canberra, Tim Sheens took me aside and told me I needed to find friends outside football and it's advice I have stuck to. I was lucky enough to have my wife, Santa, but we also made lots of friends away from the game and even now I keep in touch with a lot of my old friends from junior league days.

People might say it's easy for me because I don't really drink anyway - kava is my poison of choice - but I know players have to be responsible with drink.

At Canberra we always used to have house parties so we weren't drinking in public and these days I invite team-mates to have dinner at home so we can socialise away from the public eye.

Misi made a big mistake and he suffered the consequences but it sounds like he came under pressure from his mates. What kind of mates, though, stuff up someone's career?
 

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