NZRL Statement
on Vainikolo

Lesley Vainikolo is out of the Kiwis squad for the Gillette Tri-Nations series.

The Bradford Bulls winger, who has been in stunning form and was due to play a big part in the Kiwis' campaign, has been ruled out of the squad after under-going surgery on his knee on Monday in England.

New Zealand Rugby League deputy chairman Sel Bennett said he was extremely disappointed about Vainikolo's withdrawal from the squad and expected an explanation from the Bradford Bulls and the international league board.

"This type of situation is robbing international football of its stars," he said.

"It's becoming a joke. We thought we had seen the back of all of this, but obviously not. This is disgraceful.

"Not only are the players missing out on the opportunity to play for their country but the public, who are spending their hard earned money to buy the tickets to watch the games are also missing out on watching some of the stars of the game playing."

Bennett said he would be seeking answers very quickly.

"We were given an assurance by the club that Lesley would be allowed to be seen and assessed by our medical staff before any action was taken," he said.

"That hasn't happened and we want to know why."

The Kiwis play Great Britain at London's Loftus Road Stadium this Saturday.

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