Group 20 rugby league
PLAYERS have been issued a stern warning to abide by their contracts or pay the price after wantaway Waratahs star Viliami Ngu was suspended for four games by the Group 20 executive.
Ngu's future remains as cloudy as ever, despite the executive finding that he signed with the Waratahs last year before putting pen to paper on a second contract with the Black and Whites 10 days later.
The decision means he is contractually bound to the club he co-coached last season and will remain so unless the crosstown rivals can come to an agreement over his services - an outcome that seems unlikely.
Group 20 secretary Rocci DiSalvatore said Ngu's case should serve as a deterrent to any player who wishes to disregard or breach the terms of his contract.
"Once you make a commitment to a club, you have to follow through with your commitment - full stop," he told The Area News.
"It's happened in other groups. He's lucky he got four weeks. We just can't let players keep doing that.
"The group will come down heavily now on any players that flaunt the rules of their contracts.
"We hope it's a warning to other players - think before you sign something.
"If you're not happy at a club, don't sign anything until you work out what you want to do."
The suspension was handed down at Saturday's Group 20 AGM where the executive assessed Ngu's two CRL contracts and promptly issued the month-long ban.
Ngu, who signed a two-year deal with the Black and Whites and has been training with the David Milne-coached club, now has a decision to make.
If the Waratahs refuse to let him go, he can sit out the season and return with the Black and Whites next year, possibly while coaching one of their junior sides in the interim.
If he wishes to play for the Waratahs under premiership teammate Kose Lelei, Black and Whites president Craig O'Keeffe said his club will demand Ngu repays his signing-on fee.
"The ball's in his court. He has to decide whether he wants to play with us - if he does, we'll try to come to an agreement with him," O'Keeffe said.
"We've spoken to him and we're going to work something out with him if he wants to.
"That's obviously what we'd like to see happen - that he sorts out the drama with the Waratahs and we go from there.
"If he wants to go back to Waratahs he has to repay the money he's already taken from our club."
Waratahs secretary Mark Jaffrey said president Ken Wells is out of town and no club decision will be made on the Ngu situation until he returns.
"At the moment, until we have a committee meeting to discuss the matter, that's where it stands," he said.
"No doubt Kose will probably be in contact with him in the short term to see what his future plans are.
"It all depends if the Black and Whites still want him, too. They were disappointed themselves with the whole aspect of two contracts being signed."