RLPA defend Russell Packer as deportation decision looms

Rugby League Player Association’s Clint Newton has come to the defence of embattled St George Illawarra prop Russell Packer who faces deportation to New Zealand after spending time in jail for assault.

Packer spent 2015 playing for the Illawarra Cutters in the VB NSW Cup and engaging himself off the field as a charity ambassador for the Dragons.

“I think the way he has carried himself since come back to play for the Cutters has been tremendous,” Newton said.

“And I think he could play a crucial role in the future development of players who potentially might be heading down the path that’s not best for them.

“I’ll always maintain when people serve their time and pay back society, they should get an opportunity like everyone else to be a member of society in best possible way.

“Russell is a clear case in point. He’s admitted he’s done the wrong thing, but now is taking all the steps you need to re-engage with society.”

Thousands of people, including NRL stars, recently signed a petition to keep Packer in the country.

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