Former Panthers skipper James Tamou is ready to support struggling ex-teammate Brent Naden after his positive test for cocaine on the eve of the 2020 grand final.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Tamou said he was “stunned” by news of Naden testing positive to cocaine on grand final night, and felt sympathy rather than anger for a young teammate struggling with COVID-19 life.
“I was stunned. I had no idea. Throughout the year I knew the poor guy had some demons. But that news left me stumped and I was like, ‘what’s going on?’
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“My first thoughts, when I found out, was to make sure he was OK,” Tamou said.
“Bubble life, I’ve got four young kids at home and I’m always busy. But the young guys who are single and go home to four walls and twiddle their thumbs, mentally it would have been tough.
“I’m not [condoning drug use], but there were a lot of things going on for ‘Nado’.’’
Tamou signed a two-year deal with the Wests Tigers in September and the former Panthers captain knew the club would struggle to retain all their talent.
“Because of the talent they have out there – I said this nearly the whole time I was out there about how the talent is unbelievable – I’m not surprised what is happening now,’’ Tamou said.
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“It’s a shame because Penrith are such a good club but they can’t keep them all,” Tamou said.
“A guy like Stephen Crichton is still so young but he’s definitely worth the money.
“I know ‘Critta’, he loves the boys and he loves Penrith. It’s not his fault because he deserves the money he can get.
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“It’s about trying to keep the young ones together, which is going to be the problem for Penrith.’’
After 267 games 32-year-old Tamou will forge the next chapter of his career at the Tigers and is confident he has come to the right place for success.
“If they were on, you knew you were up for a big game,’’ Tamou said.
Tamou will link with the Tigers after four seasons at Penrith.Source:News Corp Australia
“They’re young, they’re eager for success, and you can tell that from being there just a couple of days.
“I’m excited. I knew a few of the boys already, but I wanted to get to know the other boys’ names, the structures, and by getting in early it will allow me to hit the ground running in the new year rather than doing the intros. I wanted to do right by the Tigers.’’
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Originally published as‘Had some demons’: Ex-Panthers skipper defends Naden after young gun’s drug shock
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