NRL News: ‘Deprivation of liberty’ – Young Dog launches legal action over wrestling punishment, Foran faces retirement call


Canterbury forward Jackson Topine has instigated legal action against the club in the NSW Supreme Court after he claimed “deprivation of liberty” when he was subjected to “unlawful corporal punishment” for being late to training.

Topine was punished in controversial circumstances by the Bulldogs for being late to training by being forced to wrestle his teammates one by one late last season.

He left the training session and did not return to the club for the final weeks of the season.

According to a NewsCorp report, the 22-year-old forward’s statement of claim lodged by his legal team alleges he was subjected to assault, battery and humiliation by the Canterbury training staff.

He is still under contract for the rest of this year but has not been part of the Bulldogs’ set-up since the wrestling drama.

Jackson Topine of the Bulldogs is tackled. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The statement of claim alleges each opponent in the wrestling punishment contained “high levels of fitness and strength”.

“As a result of completing the performance of all wrestling match-ups required under the wrestling direction, (Topine) required assistance in performing limited physical functions, including, standing and walking.”

Topine claims he was unaware that he had tuned up at the wrong time for the training session on July 18.

The Auckland-born Maori All-Stars representative had played 16 NRL matches for the Dogs since his debut in 2021, including five last season.

Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo addressed the matter at the time without naming the player, saying he was adamant the club needed higher standards after several seasons out of the playoffs.

“At different times we’ve wanted to put some standards in place and I feel like we have to do something about that. We’ve gone through a range of ways of talking upholding standards.

“Some of that’s been monetary related, sometimes that’s been spinning a wheel and then sometimes it’s been trying to find ways to change behaviours.

“The reality is, we need to change behaviours … we’ll continue to find ways where we can change behaviours.”

Foran fighting for his career

Gold Coast have been urged to re-sign playmaker Kieran Foran for a 17th NRL season as the veteran also gave his stamp of approval for off-contract Warriors half Shaun Johnson to play on.

Foran, also off-contract, and his former New Zealand Test and Warriors teammate Johnson will face off in the Anzac Day clash in Auckland, with both playing their best football and wanted by their respective clubs for an extra season at least.  

Top-shelf playmakers are rare in the NRL, which is why 2011 title winner Foran, 33, is backing Johnson to play a 15th season.

“He’s playing great footy. He’s been a central figure for the Warriors the past couple of seasons and seems to be getting better with age,” Foran said.

“Shaun is playing with wonderful temperament at the moment and doing all that he can.

“I’m sure he’s got a few seasons left in him if he wants to, but it’s great to see him playing good footy.”

Foran is in discussions with the Titans to extend his contract until the end of at least 2025.

“I’ll keep playing for as long as I can. I will stay on (beyond 2024) if the club feels it’s needed and if it is what’s right for the club. I won’t pull up stumps,” he told AAP.

The Titans are winless this year, but that is no fault of Foran’s. He was involved in four tries in last week’s 34-30 loss to his former club Manly.

Foundation Titans football manager  Scott Sattler said Foran was worth the investment.

“It all comes down to their salary cap and if they can negotiate a deal, but there is a lot more that goes on with a player like Kieran outside of the 80 minutes,” Sattler told AAP.

The Gold Coast’s Kieran Foran gets run down. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“We see that with a player like the retired Dale Finucane at the Sharks, where we hear about the impact he has had on the club pushing training and values.

“That is the same with Kieran with what he provides inside and outside the 80 minutes, and I think he is worthy of another deal.

“(Coach) Des Hasler is just at the start of his journey. It is going to be a long process and Kieran plays a massive role as an extension of the coach on the field. Des needs him to complete the jigsaw.”

Sattler said whenever Foran took more control, the better the side went. He is named at half against the Warriors, even though he may play a dual role.

with AAP

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