Roosters coach defends character of accused trainer

Roosters coach Trent Robsinon
Roosters coach Trent Robsinon

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson has thrown his support behind the trainer at the centre of allegations of a “deprivation of liberty” by a former Bulldogs player but conceded all clubs could look at training procedures to better protect players.

Travis Touma, who worked at the Roosters before crossing to the Bulldogs, is caught in a legal stoush after promising youngster Jackson Topine launched legal action against the club over a training incident where he was ordered to wrestle other members of the squad as a punishment for being late for training.

According to documents lodged with the NSW Supreme Court, Touma ordered the punishment and then presided over it. Topine is no longer with the Bulldogs.

On Wednesday Robinson, without knowledge of the alleged incident, said Touma was a “really outstanding person” and had the utmost care for his players.

He said clubs had to sometimes push players to get their best but that ultimately “care” had to be the primary concern.

“You have to use players to be at their best and you have to care for them at the same time,” he said.

“You don’t always get it right but if you care for your program and the players you have in that program, then for the most part you will get it right.”

That care has included giving an extra week for star young playmaker Sam Walker in concussion protocols before he was cleared to return on Anzac Day.

Sam Walker will return from concussion on Anzac Day. Picture: NRL Imagery / Anthony Kourembanas
Sam Walker will return from concussion on Anzac Day. Picture: NRL Imagery / Anthony Kourembanas

Robinson said Walker took the additional time to get through the “gates” required under current protocols.

“If we follow that process then the player will come back at the right time for them.” he said.

The Roosters are well experienced with concussion issues suffered by Luke Keary and captain James Tedesco this season.

Robinson suggested the NRL has room to improve its concussion management policies which could included a review of rules on contact training.

“I think we can improve the training procedures that do go about or the timing of when we do contact, I think that would be an improvement on what we do at the moment,” the Roosters coach said.

“It’s a balance between guarding the things that we love about the sport and improving the safety for the players. We need to have those two factors in mind and I’m sure we’ll continue to do that.”

Robinson conceded his captain Tedesco’s first game back after a head knock was “below what he wanted” but said criticism of the star fullback was unwarranted

“I think he was the form player for the first month of the season,” he said.

“He copped the head knock, missed a game, came back and was below what he wanted. He’ll keep being our captain and fullback and let’s prove (the critics) wrong.