James Tamou apology, Wests Tigers, press conference, career over, ban, next year, 2023, suspension, Brandon Smith, Ben Cummins
An emotional James Tamou admitted his ‘heart sank’ the moment he realized his 304-game NRL career might be over due to a nasty send-off.
Wests Tigers skipper Tamou was sent off for abusing referee Ben Cummins in the closing stages of the club’s worst defeat in history on Saturday night.
The Tigers were beaten 72-6 by the Roosters and Tamou was turned on for calling Cummins “fuckin’ incompetent” after missing a shot.
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Tamou is out of contract at the end of the season and with only two games left, he could spend them suspended.
If Taou issues a similar ban on Storm star Brandon Smith – who got three games for calling referee Adam Gee a “cheating bastard” last month – then his NRL career is likely over.
“Yeah, I didn’t think about it until someone mentioned it and my heart sank,” Tamou said in his post-match press conference.
“But I have to be responsible for my actions. It would be a tough road to walk, for a game that gave me so much and dedicated my body to it, so yeah, it’s just something I’ll have to deal with.
Tamou – who insisted on facing the media – used his opening comments to offer an impassioned apology.
“First of all I apologize for my actions towards Ben Cummins, they are doing a wonderful job,” he said.
“Frustrations got the better of me, emotions got the best of me. I will take any criticism and be responsible for my actions.
“The actions are not acceptable towards the shirt, the club, the players who try their butts.
“I took the easy way out and I have to carry this all week now, carry the criticism, I have four children at home and this is how they are going to see how their father acts.
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“So I will carry the criticism all week, I have to account for my actions because the actions are not acceptable and I let everyone down.
“I let myself down, I’m embarrassed. I let down a lot of people.
“Instead of looking in the mirror and being responsible, I took it out on the wrong people and again it’s the easy way out. I’m obviously broken.
Tamou promised Cummins to apologize after his press conference.
The premiership-winning striker said he wanted to play next year but was “realistic” about his NRL prospects.
“It’s a great game I love this game and I give my all to this game and no matter how many games you play it’s one of those games where you can’t walk around and think that you did everything because you will be left behind,” Tamou said.
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“You always have to be a student of the game and I feel like I keep learning and that’s what I love about the game.
“You give everything to this game. You don’t just show up to practice and then go home and switch off. You’re a 24/7 player, you go home, you recover, you eat, I like it all.
“I love dedicating my body to this, I’ve been doing it for so long and it would be nice to do it again but I’m also a bit pessimistic and if that time comes where I have to hang up the boots I’m going to be realistic and go out and find a use.
Tigers interim coach Brett Kimmorley said it was “extremely difficult” to watch Tamou suffer, but praised the veteran for acknowledging his behavior.
“Jimmy was the first person to raise their hand and say I want to come do the press conference and be in charge,” Kimmorley said.
“It’s more the stature of the man than 300 games, he’s a great person. He said I’m going to go ahead of them and raise my hand and he did really well to be strong enough to do that.
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