St George Illawarra Dragons renames Talatau Amone as NRL removes no-fault stand-down order

Talatau Amone will be in position to start the NRL season at St George Illawarra after a change in his court process prompted headquarters to release him from his resignation order.

Amone was banned from playing under the NRL’s no-fault standdown policy last month as he awaited trial on an alleged assault charge late last year.

At the time, the Dragons five-eighth faced a maximum of 14 years in prison if convicted of reckless aggravated assault in public and other lesser charges.

However, his case has since been downgraded from the district court to the magistrate’s court, meaning he can be jailed on all charges combined for a maximum of five years.

That’s well below the NRL’s threshold for invoking the flawless stand-down policy – which currently stands at a maximum penalty of 11 years – and prompts the league to let Amone play again.

“The NRL confirmed today that the no-fault stand down requirement for St. George Illawarra Dragons player Talatau Junior Amone will no longer apply, effective immediately,” the NRL said in a statement.

“Mr Amone is now eligible to enter NRL competition as a player.”

The Dragons had spent the last few months preparing to start the season without Amone, with their young teammate Jayden Sullivan set to take the Tonga international’s spot.

nrl players off the pitch
Amone appeared before the Wollongong court in January.(ABC Illawarra: Tim Fernandez)

There is still a suspicion that Amone could be rejoined as the Dragons take on Gold Coast on Sunday after their opening round bye.

Amone had continued training alongside his teammates, who had thrown their arms around the 20-year-old, including Sullivan and Tyrell Sloan, who had played junior football with him.

“He’s had me before, we’ve been through worse together. It’s just another step in our lives,” Sloan said last week.

“It’s a big thing for Junes (Amone). As a club we stand behind him. All the boys love him like a brother.

“It’s not going to change who we are or what we believe about Junes. He’s definitely one of the best young talents to come through.

“It’s sad what happened. As a club we have to support him as much as we can. He knows we have his back.”

AAP St George Illawarra Dragons renames Talatau Amone as NRL removes no-fault stand-down order

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