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Sacked Canterbury Bulldogs utility Reni Maitua has threatened legal action against his former club, demanding a reported $100,000 payout.
Maitua was shown the door by the Bulldogs after another off-field incident and is reportedly struggling to find another club with adequate money under the salary cap to sign him.
On December 3, Maitua was reportedly drinking with friends in Cronulla when he was assaulted by another drinker. Reports further revealed that Maitua walked away and the attacker later apologised. Maitua however, missed training the next day and was told his contract was "terminated for repeated breaches of policy." The 26-year-old unsuccessfully appealed the decision.
An Australian representative player in 2006 and Samoan international in the 2008 World Cup, Maitua may play for as little as $50,000 in the NRL next year.
Maitua's manager Sam Ayoub has approached a number of clubs in Australia as well as overseas, and was still holding discussions with Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg about the issue this week.
It's understood that several NRL clubs have expressed interest in signing Maitua for 2009 in addition to Super League clubs in the UK. Ayoub has also suggested rugby union as an option for his client.
An outcome is expected before Christmas.
In other news, Brisbane Broncos' star Justin Hodges has been given a break from the club amid rumours he is sorting out alcohol problems.
The international centre has already begun rehabilitation after a shoulder surgery ruled him out of the recent Rugby League World Cup.
According to a Broncos press release, Hodges would be given more than six weeks away from the club:
"The Brisbane Broncos today advise that Justin Hodges has been granted a leave of absence from the Broncos until January 25th, 2009.
"Following Justin's shoulder reconstruction surgery and the commencement of his rehabilitation program, he has experienced some personal issues that require him to spend this period of time away from the club.
"Because of the very personal nature of the matter, both Justin and the club will not be commenting on it further.
"The Broncos look forward to Australia Day 2009 (January 26th) when we expect a fit and healthy Justin Hodges to return for what we expect to be an exciting and rewarding year."