Tough few days for Sharks coach Paul Henare
Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare has described the past two days as the toughest he has had to deal with in his life.
Henare spoke yesterday about his frustration and disappointment in three of his players being charged with assault after an incident early on Sunday in New Plymouth.
The Southland Times understands the Southland players charged are Reuben Te Rangi, Leon Henry and Shea Ili.
The players' charges are scheduled to be heard in the New Plymouth District Court today but the players are not expected to appear.
To compound the situation, revelations surfaced on Monday that another player, Gareth Dawson, had been stood down by the Sharks after a positive drugs test.
"It's definitely a couple of the hardest days I can remember in basketball, maybe the toughest days I've experienced. Just the magnitude of the whole thing. It has been testing for a lot of people," Henare said.
"There has been so much good work put into this organisation. For the fifth year in the league and to have done so many good things, it doesn't take much for all that good work to be partly brought down."
He did not want to be seen as defending the actions of his players but did want to point out the three players who were arrested were the only members of the Sharks team and management involved in the incident.
Reports that the whole team was involved were wrong, with the rest of the team already at the hotel, he said. He also clarified that they opted not to attend the after-match function because they were told there would be a delay in serving the food at the function.
Instead they opted to eat at the hotel because many players were hungry, he said.
Henare was determined to see the Sharks work hard to build their reputation with the Southland public.
"We are going to have to roll the sleeves up and do even more work in the community - and with how we conduct ourselves in the future - to stand tall and prove our worth in the community. Although this
is a disappointing and devastating situation I still feel the organisation has a lot to offer Southland."
After an earlier incident this season, Henare addressed the team about expectations in the way they conducted themselves off the court.
He did not feel there was anything to be concerned about, as far as player behaviour, heading into the New Plymouth nightmare.
"One of my objectives when I come down to Southland was to have a positive influence on the culture in the team and in the community - and I guess there have been a few silly mistakes from a few individuals which, from the outside looking in, would make you question the culture and the standards and expectations of our playing group.
"In hindsight, we are going to ask ourselves did we do enough and what can we do better."
The Southland Times