Paul Kent has blasted Haumole Olakau’atu and other Manly players for promoting gang violence with their support of convicted teammate Manase Fainu.
Olakau’atu used a try celebration against the Titans as a platform to support Fainu, who has been convicted of stabbing a man at a Church dance, by using his postcode signal.
“The disappointing thing about this and I believe the Integrity Unit are going to look at this and I believe Andrew Abdo has had a conversation about this,” Kent said on NRL 360.
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“What he has done here is a six, one, which I believe is a Guildford postcode, which is relation to where Manase Fainu is from. Then he has put the wrists together like he is in handcuffs, which is all in support of Manase Fainu.
“Is it a protest or is it support because only a couple of weeks ago we were here on this show and particularly me defending the values of Olakau’atu and a few other players at that club for their stance with the Pride Jersey.
“I said, whether you like it or not they follow a Christian Faith and they are defending that Faith.
“A fortnight later they are now coming out in support of a guy who has just been convicted of stabbing a bloke, essentially grievous bodily harm with intent.
“You can’t have it both ways with these guys.”
Kent warned of the damaging effects that such shows of support for the postcode wars can have, especially when so many players are trying to stamp out the effects of gang violence in the game.
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“The postcode gang wars in Sydney at the moment are costing lives literally,” Kent said.
“There was a stabbing at the Easter Show earlier this year.
“The police have got involved with players, particularly from Penrith and Parramatta.
“Jarome Luai, Brian To’o, Nathan Cleary and Junior Paulo have all been exceptional in the time they have given the program.
“Fonua-Blake did the same thing (as Olakau’atu) and whether these blokes are aware of it or not they are contributing to the problem.
“To have some sort of social conscience in the game, which they tried to exhibit a few weeks ago, whether you agree with it or not and we come out and support their right to their own faith.
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“Here they are a fortnight later in support of a guy who is about to go to jail for stabbing a guy in a fight that was born out of a gang fight based on these postcodes.”
Paul Crawley believes the NRL need to act in a bid to stamp it out quickly.
“They are using the NRL and Fox League as a stage to show their support and that is where it is wrong,” Crawley said.
“That’s where the game has to be tough.
“We have had a lot of trouble at junior representative games earlier this year. There is concern that at some clubs there is gang culture and Manly’s one of them and you have to stamp it out.
“If the club doesn’t want to be tough, make the game be tough.
“The game has got to draw a line in the sand and say this is just not acceptable.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Dave Riccio believes the latest development will only contribute to the fractures in the Manly dressing room in the aftermath of the Pride Jersey saga.
“The NSWRL canceled junior games earlier this year as a result of fears of gang violence about to unfold at those grounds,” Riccio said.
“This just sends it backwards. There is no doubt the NRL Integrity Unit will look at it.
“And I keep on hearing that this is leading to more fractures within the Manly playing group.”
Kent believes the NRL need to sanction the players involved to contain the issue and he blasted the players for their actions.
“The NRL has got to come in because the more they just sit and let it marinate through the game, the tougher it is going to be to get rid of,” Kent said.
“What sort of game is going to allow itself to attach itself to gang wars? It is just wrong on every level.
“These guys just surrender every right to compassion and sympathy from a fortnight ago from what they have just done on the weekend. It’s just stupid.”