West Tigers player stood down after guilty plea to assault
WESTS Tigers have stood down utility Michael Chee Kam from Saturday's NRL clash with the Gold Coast after his guilty plea to common assault.
Just hours after boarding a flight to Tamworth with teammates for the match, Chee Kam was told on Friday evening he would miss the game after admitting to assaulting a ride-share driver in December.
The 27-year-old was charged in January with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, but that was withdrawn and dismissed at Waverley Local Court on Wednesday.
Instead the New Zealand-born forward pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of common assault.
Chee Kam's matter was one of several dramas the NRL had to deal with over the off-season, prompting the league to take a hard-line stance on player behaviour.
North Queensland's Scott Bolton was banned for five matches after he pleaded guilty to a common assault charge in January but received no conviction.
The Tigers had earlier received far better news on the availability front, with veteran Robbie Farah a confirmed starter in the Tamworth clash after overcoming a concussion.
But second-rower Luke Garner has also been sidelined. He failed to overcome the head knock he suffered in Monday's 51-6 flogging at the hands of Parramatta.
"(Robbie) was fine. He actually passed (the concussion test) on the day," coach Michael Maguire said.
"There are certain parameters you've got to play around concussion and we definitely did that.
"I'm very pleased with my medical staff that they followed that. But he's going well."
Saturday's home clash shapes as a crucial one for the Tigers. Their blowout against the Eels was an aberration on their otherwise gutsy start to the season, which has largely been built on defence.
"The way the boys responded throughout the week has been really positive," Maguire said.
"We've got different standards to what we had in the past, and we weren't able to reach them last weekend.
"I've obviously got a group that has got a fair bit of experience, so we need to call upon that. In the season you bounce up and down throughout a season."