Former Australia international Joel Monaghan will brace himself for a barrage of abuse when he makes his first appearance for Warrington in Sunday’s pre-season friendly at Leigh.
The 28 year old was forced to quit his home town NRL club Canberra Raiders after eight years as a result of a drunken incident at an end-of-season party, when he mounted and has sex with a dog…the canine variety.
Monaghan, who played for the Kangaroos in the 2008 World Cup final, went into hiding during November after the publication on the internet of a lewd photograph and admitted he thought it could have cost him his career.
Addressing the British media for the first time at Warrington’s pre-season media day, Monaghan said, “It was the worst time of my life.
“I didn’t turn the Internet on or read a paper for about two months. It was a pretty dark time. The hardest thing was seeing the family dragged down as well.
“My little sister rang me, she’d been sent the photo, and that hurt. It was still about a week until it came out but I was getting phone calls from different people every day.
“In a way it was good that I got to warn the family. I sat them down and rang my grandparents, which was the hardest thing I’ve had to do. I never slept for a week.
“That first week I thought it could have been it so to get the opportunity to come over here and play with my brother and play in a great team shows there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Monaghan was courted by a host of Super League clubs once he signalled his intention to head to Europe and he was close to signing for Catalans Dragons.
But the prospect of fulfilling a long-held ambition to play alongside older brother Michael, the Warrington halfback or hooker, swayed his final decision and he has a 12-month contract with the Challenge Cup holders.
“We promised dad that we’d play together one day and the big fella never stopped grinning for three days when I told him I’d signed.
“He couldn’t be happier and he and mum havealready planned their trip over here this year.”
Monaghan, who returned from a Christmas break in Australia to join the Wolves on a week-long training camp in Tenerife, will make his first appearance on English soil in Sunday’s friendly at Leigh, along with fellow Australian newcomer Brett Hodgson.
by Buford Balony