Sea Eagles botch appeal bid

Monday March 13, 2017 Written by Published in League

Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles have reportedly withdrawn their appeal after Cook Islands Rugby League Association executives declined to accept it on the grounds it was not done in accordance to the proper process.


CI News has been reliably informed that the Sea Eagles executives filed an appeal on the findings and not on the penalty imposed on them as per the rule.

The Sea Eagles were found in breach of competition rules after playing Joe Hoeflich, who is contracted to the Avatiu Nikao Eels.

CIRLA stripped the Sea Eagles of their opening three games points and imposed a monetary fine on them.

CI News was told that the Sea Eagles tried to change the appeals process by appealing against the CIRLA findings on the complaint lodged by the Eels. “They can appeal against the penalty, but not against the findings. They wanted to change the appeals process and therefore the appeal wasn’t accepted and they had to withdraw it,” a CIRLA official said.

The Sea Eagles have earlier indicated that they will drag the matter to court after failing to recognise the contract between Hoeflich and the Avatiu Rugby League Club.

However, Eels coach Albert Nicholas said winger Hoeflich’s contract, which was drafted by a lawyer, was valid until 2019.

CI News also viewed the original (playing) contract between the club and Hoeflich which was signed by both parties in January last year.

The contract said Hoeflich would be paid an allowance to be decided by him for every game he played for the Eels.

Nicholas said the issue had been brewing since last year and many attempts by them to solve it amicably proved futile after the Sea Eagles executives failed to come onboard to discuss it.

He called Sea Eagles’ attitude to CIRLA’s decision by continuing to play Hoeflich in the weekly domestic league competition appalling.

“It’s a valid decision in our view and not one that should be ignored, but the main point here is, we have always been trying to work with Joe concerning this issue since way before the league Nines competition,” Nicholas said.

“We have made countless offers to sit down and come to an agreement moving forward for both parties, but they refused to come to the party.”

Nicholas said the Sea Eagles were given a notice from CIRLA to stand down Hoeflich from playing in the local competition until the matter was solved but they “totally disregarded this directive”.

He said the Sea Eagles in fact accepted a similar complaint from Takuvaine (TKV) Warriors by accepting a contract between the latter club and the concerned player but failed to recognise their contract with Hoeflich.

“Sea Eagles accepted that TKV had a contract with the player they played at the Nines. They accepted that he shouldn’t have played for them, why then the same decision apply to us.

“Our contract was a proper contract, I believe the TKV contract wasn’t even a proper one but yet they accepted the TKV contract but refused to accept ours.”

Meanwhile Nicholas also refuted claims made in the earlier report that he lodged the complaint against the Sea Eagles.

He said it was done by the club president and the secretary.

“This (CIRLA) is nonprofit organisation and we are here because we love this game and there are rules and regulation that governs it and we abide by it and move forward,” Nicholas added.

“We have made offers to sort this nonsense out with them, but they refused to come to the party and they continued to deliberately disregard a directive from CIRLA.

“So why is it that directive from CIRLA in the past applied to us when we had four game points stripped off us and fined last year, to the Bulldogs, to the Tupapa Panthers last year and yet they (Sea Eagles) feel that these rules don’t apply to them? This is really sad.”

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