May claims won’t distract ‘professional’ Panthers

Jasper Bruce |

Taylan May (right) has been stood down by the Panthers after being arrested.
Taylan May (right) has been stood down by the Panthers after being arrested.

Penrith senior players are determined not to let Taylan May’s charges derail their NRL campaign, with the Panthers on track for finals.

May was arrested at a Sydney residence at 5am on Saturday and subsequently stood down by the Panthers for Sunday’s Magic Round game against the Warriors.

NSW Police have charged May with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two counts of stalking or intimidating another person with the intention of causing them to fear physical or mental harm.

It is alleged the 22-year-old punched a woman known to him in the face and leg at a Sydney residence on April 8. He has been bailed to appear in the Penrith Local Court on May 28.

AAP understands the Panthers were made aware of the allegations levelled at May on Saturday morning.

As of Saturday afternoon, May had not been suspended by the NRL under its no-fault stand-down policy, but the integrity unit was investigating the matter alongside NSW Police.

Under the no-fault stand-down policy, players are automatically unavailable for games and training when charged with a crime that carries a penalty of at least 11 years in prison.

The NRL typically exercises discretionary powers to suspend players if they are charged with an offence against a woman.

Bookmakers have installed the Panthers as favourites for a fourth consecutive premiership, with the side sitting second on the ladder heading into round 11.

Five-eighth Jarome Luai was adamant the side would remain focused this weekend, despite May’s omission.

“We’re all professionals here, we’ll deal with that tomorrow out on the field – we’ll let our footy do the talking,” he said.

New recruit Paul Alamoti will join the starting side in May’s place, having filled in on three previous occasions this season.

Alamoti has previously been parachuted into the side when May missed for personal reasons last month, and again when winger Sunia Turuva needed time out to focus on contract negotiations.

“Every time he’s come in, he’s done a great job for us, so I look forward to seeing that this week as well,” co-captain Isaah Yeo said.

Yeo would not speak to the allegations made against May, but said the Panthers “certainly do” need depth to hoist the trophy aloft for a fourth consecutive season.

“All I know is we’ve come up here and we’re expected to put in a good performance,” he said.

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