Black and Whites, 'Tahs in Ngu contract dispute

GRIFFITH'S two rugby league clubs are locked in a tug of war for the services of one of Group 20's most dangerous players.

Former representative star Viliami Ngu is stranded between the club he wants to join, the Black and Whites, and the club that won't let him go, the Waratah Tigers.

The crafty utility player could face a lengthy ban with the Waratahs - who he co-coached last season - claiming he signed a contract with them before deciding to join the David Milne-led revolution at the Black and Whites.

Ngu has been training with the Black and Whites and was present at the club's season launch function at the Griffith Leagues Club on Tuesday night.

But whether he gets to play with last year's wooden spooners hinges on a speedy resolution to a saga that has dragged on since the start of the year. 

Ngu did not wish to comment when contacted by The Area News but the Black and Whites are in his corner, backing the man who would provide yet another handy boost to the club's massive rebuilding effort.

President Craig O'Keeffe said Ngu is adamant he did not sign with the 'Tahs before crossing town and penning a deal with the Black and Whites.

"As far as we're concerned, officially, we're committed to him," O'Keeffe said.

"He's signed a contract with us and if he's done something wrong then he'll have to sort that out, but we'll support him.

"He's come to our training sessions, he turned up at the season launch - he obviously wants to still play with us, and we want him as well."

The three parties were to sit down and bring the matter to a head this week but work commitments have seen it drag on.

In the past, players have been suspended or forced to sit the entire season out as a result of prior contractual disputes in Group 20.

Regardless, it appears the Black and Whites won't get their man without a fight from the Waratahs.

"He signed a contract with us on December 31 and signed one with (the Black and Whites) 10 days later," Waratahs president Ken Wells said.

Wells, who last week closed a deal to secure ex-junior Kose Lelei as captain-coach to replace Ngu and Danny Graham, said he would not release Ngu to the Waratahs' crosstown rivals.

"He coached us last year, he's a good player and we're struggling with numbers - why would we want to let him go?" he said.

"If he was a reserve-grader you'd say fair enough but he's one of the best players in the group and you don't like to let them go too easily."

Ngu had an injury-plagued season last year but still featured 14 times for the struggling 'Tahs, scoring five tries.

IN-DEMAND: Viliami Ngu, who co-coached the Waratah Tigers last year, wants to switch to the Black and Whites.

IN-DEMAND: Viliami Ngu, who co-coached the Waratah Tigers last year, wants to switch to the Black and Whites.


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