NRL star is ‘glad’ his role in a sex scandal was exposed
Canberra Raiders forward Corey Harawira-Naera has opened up about the impact his infamous schoolgirl sex scandal had on his professional career.
In March, Harawira-Naera came under fire after the Canterbury Bulldogs player had consensual sex with a school student who was of legal age during a pre-season trip to Port Macquarie.
Former NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg labelled his behaviour "inexcusable", calling it a "very serious" breach of the league's code of conduct.
The Canterbury Bulldogs promptly cancelled his playing contract, and the 25-year-old was deregistered by the NRL, but won an appeal to be reinstated in July.
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Last month, Harawira-Naera joined the Canberra Raiders to reignite his NRL career, and has played three games in the green jersey to date.
Speaking to NRL.com, the New Zealander believes the sex scandal served as a valuable life lesson and was a timely "wake-up call".
"I was getting in a bit of trouble in Sydney and getting away from that was really important," Harawira-Naera said.
"My career has come crashing down pretty quickly and I'm not proud of it, but everything happens for a reason. Some won't agree with me there but I needed this wake-up call.
"I'm glad I got caught out and have learned my lesson. I'm glad it happened earlier rather than later.
"A lot of people didn't agree with my apology and said it was scripted, but I felt like I needed to say something but it's allowed for me to move on and focus on my footy.
"I've just got to grow up, I'm 25 now and have to focus on why I came over to Australia in the first place.
"It wasn't for a holiday or to get in trouble and stuff it up for all my family who have done a lot to get me here."
As part of the terms of his release from the Bulldogs, Harawira-Naera will not feature in Canberra's round 16 clash against his former club.
For their next fixture, the Raiders will face the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Originally published as NRL star 'glad' sex scandal was exposed