Tim Simona has been stood down by the Wests Tigers while an investigation takes place into betting.
Tim Simona has been stood down by the Wests Tigers while an investigation takes place into betting. DAN HIMBRECHTS

NRL boss to come down hard on players betting

RUGBY LEAGUE: NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has warned he will throw the book at players found guilty of breaking betting rules.

Greenberg's comments came following the confirmation from police that they had begun investigating allegations Wests Tigers centre Simona arranged for bets to be placed on players who he was directly marking.

"Detectives from the Organised Crime Unit under Strike Force Nuralda have met with the NRL integrity unit in relation to the reported conduct of a 25-year-old player," a police spokesperson said.

Asked at yesterday's NRL 2017 season launch if he would hesitate to ban anyone for life, Greenberg said: "There are massive penalties in place for players that do the wrong thing and the integrity of the game is central to that.

"If and when we need to make some hard decisions, we'll make them."

Strike Force Nuralda is the same Organised Crime squad task force looking into match-fixing allegations.

Fairfax Media reported Simona allegedly organised for bets to be placed through associates.

It's alleged the bets were minor but placed on players, who Simona was marking, to score tries.

Simona has been stood down from training and playing commitments while he is being investigated.

He was also issued with a notice of intention to cancel his registration by the NRL and is facing a life ban from the game

Greenberg also defended the NRL's close ties to betting agencies and said players knew they were not allowed to bet on games and the Simona allegations had little to do with gambling advertising also linked to the NRL.

"Players are acutely aware of their responsibilities, they know they can't bet on rugby league," Greenberg said.

"And if they do and are found guilty, there will be significant ramifications including career-defining decisions.

"Players put at great jeopardy their careers if they consider that.

"It's well-understood, it's contractual, there's enough education, every player knows the rules."