Former Kiwi and current Sydney South’s off-side flanker Ramon Noh-Mana was last night suspended for life or longer by the Australian RNL after he admitted to an assault charge.
Noh-Mana -- with a season average of 16 points a game and personal best of 12.5 seconds -- is facing further criminal charges after it alleged he punched a model and former star of Shortland Street in the face, urinated on her and left her to die on the side of a mountain.
Last night after a judicial hearing by RNL officials Noh-Mana was suspended for life or longer and in a prepared statement apologised to his team mates, the RNL and the mountain.
“I’d like to apologise to my team mates, the RNL and the mountain,” he said.
He declined further comment and is believed to be spending time with his family and pastor at a luxury retreat on Bateman Island.
Noh-Mana earned the derision of many in the code for his actions, although fellow RFL player and one-time Ellerslie Rooster Dave Sorenson said last night he thought the punishment “a bit harsh because Roman is good mate and an asset to any team”.
Noh-Mana is alleged to have met the woman in Gold Coast bar after a night celebrating a 26-5 win over the Coasters.
“Basically it was just a case of good-natured hi-jinks that went a bit far,” said South’s manager Bob Pedersen after the RNL hearing. “I think Ramon has learned his lesson, that he probably shouldn’t punch women, but we’ll be looking at how we can help him and his family in the coming days.
“People need to understand that this is a young man at the peak of his career and he probably needs a bit of breathing space to move on and put this thing behind him.
"Suspension means only that, and we could see him back in the game next season, he‘s a good mate and an asset to any team.”
Cycling New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s department have condemned Noh-Mana’s behaviour, both confirming that if he applied for a job he would not be considered. The producers of Shortland Street also issued a statement last night saying he would no longer be considered for the part of Rangi, the sensitive doctor who works with South East Asian orphans in a Remuera clinic.
Sir Hawthorne Hadley, who also once celebrated a win over the Coasters in 1963, has said that in his day no team member would consider leaving anyone on the side of a mountain.
“The fact is that this is a tough game, but once you punched a woman and urinated on her in the early hours of the morning you do the decent thing and call either an ambulance or someone in management to come and sort out the problem.”
Last night the young woman Mandy Watson, who is undergoing surgery in a Brisbane hospital for frostbite, could not be contacted for comment although her surgeon underwent a gruelling hour-long inquisition by Checkpoint’s Mary Wilson who gleaned nothing.
It is believed Watson may lose the use of her nose, and three fingers of her right hand may have to amputated.
Her parents Doris and Peter Watson of Te Papa were last night preparing to fly to Australia to be at their daughter’s bedside. They refused to comment but insisted that the media was responsible for the incident and the subsequent publicity.
“You mongrels in the media are responsible for the incident and the subsequent publicity,” said Mr Watson late last night.
“We have no further comment to make and will not be commenting to the media again, until after we have signed the agreement with Channel 23 for an exclusive 20/20 interview and profile of Mandy in New Women’s Day.”