|Born||20 November 1991|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||90 kg (14 st 2 lb)|
As of 2 August 2016
Tim Simona (born 20 November 1991) is a former self professed gambler and Samoan international rugby league footballer who has played for the Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League. Simona primarily played as a centre, but could fill in at fullback, wing and halfback.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Simona is of Samoan descent. Simona moved to Australia as a 6-year old. and was a Western City Tigers and Doonside Roos junior. Simona was educated at Chifley College Mount Druitt Campus and Patrician Brothers' College, Blacktown. Simona played for the Wests Tigers NYC team in 2010-2011.
Starting the season in NSW Cup, Simona returned to first grade in Round 8 after injuries to Blake Ayshford and Chris Lawrence and spent the rest of the season playing either wing or centre. In Round 13 Simona scored his first NRL career try against the Penrith Panthers in the Tigers 20-18 win at Penrith Stadium. On 18 July, he re-signed with the Tigers to the end of 2015. Simona finished the year as the Tigers highest try-scorer with 12 tries in 17 matches. At the end of the season, Simona underwent an operation on his shoulder that was expected to see him out of action for some months. Simona had been selected for New Zealand's 2013 World Cup side, but declined in order to better prepared for the 2014 season.
In April, Simona was named for Samoa against Fiji in the Pacific Rugby League International match, a qualifier for the 2014 Four Nations, but was later ruled out with suspension and replaced by St George Illawarra Dragons player Peter Mata'utia. Simona finished off the year with him playing in 14 matches and scoring 3 tries. On 25 October, Simona made his international debut for Samoa against England at Suncorp Stadium, playing at fullback in Samoa’s 32-26 loss. He played in 3 matches and scored 1 try throughout the Four Nations.
On 23 January, Simona was named in the Tigers Auckland Nines squad. He started the regular season by scoring 3 tries and setting up 6 more in the first 7 rounds. In May, he played at halfback for Samoa against Tonga in the Polynesian Cup, and suffered an ankle injury during the match. He ended the season with 5 tries and 10 try-assists from a personal-best 20 appearances.
Simona again started the pre-season playing in the Auckland Nines. On 7 May, Simona played fullback for Samoa in the 2016 Polynesian Cup, winning 18-6. He made a career-best 21 appearances for Wests Tigers, scoring 7 tries, but admitted to being disappointed with his form. "I spoke one-on-one with my coach, and he told me that I'd had a pretty good year, but I just know for myself as a player that I've got plenty more to prove," he said.
Simona was officially de-registered by the NRL on 10 March, after the NRL integrity unit found that he had breached the rules of the league by betting on NRL games. NRL CEO Todd Greenberg declared: "it is very hard to imagine that Tim Simona will be registered with the NRL at any time in the future". On 11 July 2017, Simona was given an 18 month good behaviour bond by Campbelltown local court. Simona was facing up to two years in jail for his role in selling signed jerseys for auction but taking the proceeds for himself which he then used for gambling and drug use purposes. On 4 December 2017, it was revealed that Simona was attempting to resurrect his career in England with Hull Kingston Rovers, and The Toronto Wolfpack showing interest in signing the player. But both clubs were told Simona's contract could not be registered as he failed to meet the eligibility requirements.
In June, Penrith general manager Phil Gould formally approached the NRL about the player getting clearance to be a welfare officer in the NRL community outreach program. Gould spoke to the media saying “Regardless of any future opportunity to return to the NRL, Tim is doing his best to make up for his mistakes of the past". Former teammate Beau Ryan said to the media “People have got very short memories which is good and bad. I believe at some stage he does need a second chance. “Whether that’s playing? Probably not, to be honest, I can’t see him playing on the field again".
On 13 January, it was reported that Simona was preparing a formal bid to overturn his indefinite ban from the game. It was revealed that Simona was preparing to meet with the Rugby League Players Association.
Simona is the cousin of winger Sami Sauiluma also first cousins with Michael Chee Kam he is also uncle of Castleford Tigers forward Jesse Sene-Lefao and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles winger Matthew Wright. Simona's younger brother Paul Simona played for the Cronulla Sharks Toyota Cup. He is eligible to play for either Samoa through his heritage, New Zealand due to being born there, or Australia as a result of playing junior footy in that country. After his rugby league career was finished, Simona started working as a personal trainer at a gym in Smeaton Grange.
In December 2017, Simona announced that he would be pursuing a career in Boxing after failing to get another rugby league contract. On 8 February 2018, Simona was scheduled to fight in a boxing match at The Hurstville Entertainment Center but was pulled from the card in the week leading up to the event because he failed to get clearance from the combat sports authority.
- Tim Simona rugbyleagueproject.org
- Tony Webeck. "Simona torn by rep eligibility". nrl.com.
- "Tigers sweating on Tuqiri injury". ABC. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Robbie Farah field goal in golden point extra time sees Wests Tigers beat Newcastle Knights 17-16". Daily Telegraph.
- Wayne Cousins (30 September 2012). "Tigers go down fighting to Jets in NSW Cup Grand Final". weststigers.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Michael Chammas (30 September 2012). "Jets scramble to take NSW Cup". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Brock Corfe (23 August 2013). "Young guns - Tim Simona". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "Tigers claw their way past Panthers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "Wests Tigers secure top young talent". Zero Tackle. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Daniel Lane (10 December 2014). "Wests Tigers prop Keith Galloway's honeymoon interrupted by toe injury". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- Matt Encarnacion (12 November 2013). "Why Simona put club before country". nrl.com. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "Tim Simona to miss Samoa Test against Fiji after copping suspension for dangerous throw". ABC News. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Margie McDonald. "England overcome Samoa in thriller". The Australian.
- "WESTS TIGERS NAME 2015 NINES SQUAD". Rugby League Week. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "2015 Season Review: Tim Simona". weststigers.com.au.
- Tim Williams. "Tigers place stars on ice for NRL Auckland Nines campaign". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-03-06.
- Martin Gabor. "Simona is his harshest critic". nrl.com.
- "Tim Simona deregistered". NRL.com. 10 March 2017.
- "Disgraced former Wests Tigers player Tim Simona will submit a formal request to end NRL ban". www.foxsports.com.au.
- "Read About a Raider – Sami Sauiluma". raiders.com.au. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
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