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The Gold Coast Titans are hopeful their accused players can return to the field after their court appearances in coming weeks but the Queensland Reds are taking a wait-and-see approach to the playing future of star signing Karmichael Hunt.
Titans coach Neil Henry said he was content for Beau Falloon, Jamie Dowling, Greg Bird, David Taylor and Kalifa Faifai Loa to all resume their playing careers after their initial court appearances at Southport.
Falloon and Dowling are due to appear before a magistrate to face drugs charges next Thursday, two days before the Gold Coast’s season opener against the Wests Tigers, while the remaining trio will appear on March 9.
The lawyer for four of the players, Campbell MacCallum, has suggested they would fight the charges, but the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission has yet to lay out the full brief of evidence compiled against the defendants.
If they do contest the charges, the cases will be prolonged and could take up to 18 months as they progress through the courts towards a verdict.
Henry said there had been precedents set with players going to court and then continuing to compete on the field until the matter had been settled.
“It’ll be a distraction but that’s happened before,” Henry said. “There’s been players who’ve had to go to court but they’ve still played, they haven’t been stood down, in a variety of codes, not just rugby league.
“In fact, playing football and being around their mates will be a real bonus. The isolation at the moment is making it really difficult for our players.”
While MacCallum has publicly voiced his thoughts on the CCC charges, Hunt’s lawyer Angelo Venardos has declined to make any public comment about his client’s predicament and it is unknown how the former Broncos and Gold Coast Suns player may plea.
Meanwhile, the Reds have taken a lower-profile stance, allowing Hunt to train on a restricted basis but not committing to any future course before they are given a clearer picture of the legal landscape.
The Reds have backed their player and said his welfare remains paramount during a challenging time. The Super Rugby franchise has trodden carefully since day one, even going as far to split legal hairs and suggest Hunt had yet to be formally charged.
Meanwhile, Broncos back-rower Corey Parker has scoffed at rumours the club could be the next implicated in the cocaine scandal.
“It is a frenzy,” Parker said. “All you guys [media] are here tiptoeing around the same question. But all it is innuendo and rumours.
“I have got nothing else for you [on the topic].”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.