Ben Hunt speaks on Talatau Amone’s verdict, Dragons halves future
Amone was found guilty of assault earlier this month at Wollongong Local Court for a hammer attack on a roofing contractor in December last year.
He will be sentenced before the end of 2023, with the five-eighth facing the prospect of jail time, with a maximum sentence of five years.
That had originally dropped from 14 years when the case was being heard in the district court, and at one point had led to the NRL enforcing the no-fault stand-down policy against Amone.
That was revoked when the case was moved to local court, with Amone returning for the Dragons and featuring regularly at first-grade level.
The Dragons commented after the verdict, confirming Amone had been stood down from club activities.
The Dragons acknowledge the guilty verdict handed down to player Talatau Amone in Wollongong Court today in relation to an assault last November,” the statement provided by the club at the time read.
“As a result of this outcome, Amone has been stood down from all club activities until further notice.
“The club will make no further comment at this time as court proceedings continue.”
The guilty verdict has hit the Dragons’ plans for 2024 hard though, and Hunt told News Corp it was disappointing that the club had received another knock.
“It’s something that keeps rearing its head, doesn’t it,” Hunt told News Corp.
“It’s obviously very disappointing. There is not much I can comment on about it. It is just another knock for the club.
“I will leave that to Flanno and the staff to really assess that. I felt going into the year it was going to be another good stepping stone for Junior.
“He was really starting to build into a nice player. I still don’t know what the outcome is going to be but it is very disappointing.”
Hunt, who himself has requested a release from the struggling joint-venture who are set to begin life under the coaching of Shane Flanagan this year, is now resigned to playing for the club next season.
There is no guarantee he will see out his contract to the end of 2025, but the Dragons have been clear in their refusal to release Hunt.
The Dragons had no such reservations in releasing Jayden Sullivan to the Wests Tigers however, with Kyle Flanagan and Jack Bird now the most likely players to partner Hunt in the Dragons’ halves, with the club desperate to avoid another bottom-four finish.