Panthers out to give disgraced former Tiger Tim Simona a lifeline
PANTHERS General Manager Phil Gould has formally approached the NRL integrity unit on behalf of disgraced former player Tim Simona, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Simona, who was exiled from the game over fraud, betting, and drugs offences, is seeking to participate in some of the Panthers' extensive school outreach and community programs.
The disgraced former Tigers player wants to return as a welfare officer and Gould believes he should get a second chance, just not on the field.
"Regardless of any future opportunity to return to the NRL, Tim is doing his best to make up for his mistakes of the past," Gould said.
"He has been quite proactive.
"Tim approached us about allowing him to be involved in our community and schools programs.
"He has been doing community work of his own, but wants to do more. He wants to assist and believes others can learn from his story."
Gould has also spoken to the Panthers board about supporting Simona, however the final decision on his return to the game will ultimately come from the NRL.
"Part of this is obviously wanting to prove to the NRL he is worthy of another chance," Gould said on Tuesday.
"I have spoken to the NRL integrity unit and Panthers board about the possibility of assisting Tim."
"We have the resources and programs to allow Tim to prove himself," Gould said.
"If the NRL thinks this is a good opportunity to rehabilitate Tim, we can assist.
"Whether he returns to the game is irrelevant at this stage."
Simona played 79 NRL matches for the Tigers from 2011 to 2016.
The outside back was deregistered by the NRL last year after he was found guilty of betting on matches, while representing the Tigers.
He was placed on an 18-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to "dishonestly obtaining property by deception".
Simona kept money from the sale of jumpers which had been promised to children's charity Camp Quality. He then used it to gamble and buy drugs.
The NRL is yet to make a comment.