NRL star Fifita heading home to face the music
Troubled teenage NRL star David Fifita is reportedly on his way home to Brisbane after he was released from a Bali police lockup where he has been held behind bars for the past three days free of any criminal record.
The 19-year-old was seen leaving at Bali airport, Denpasar on Monday night (local time), presumably getting a flight to Brisbane where he is expected to land on Tuesday morning after being charged over an alleged nightclub assault.
The Bronco forward simply said that he was "good" after his ordeal.
"Firstly, I want to thank everyone involved and obviously the police and my club and I'll make further statement later on in the week," Fifita told reporters.
The young star who is poised to sign a multimillion-dollar playing contract is set to be grilled by the NRL Integrity Unit on Tuesday.
The incident took place at the same nightspot where Melbourne Storm's Nelson Asofa-Solomona was involved in a wild brawl a month ago, which resulted in a three-game ban and a suspended $15,000 fine.
And it comes a fortnight after Fifita captained a Junior Kangaroos team to a win over France in Wollongong.
Earlier, Fifita left the police station with Bronco troubleshooter Adam Walsh and his Indonesian lawyer Muhammad Rifan, ignoring questions from reporters.
The three men went to the lawyer's Kuta office where they had lunch.
According to Mr Rifan, police have closed the case and Fifita will leave Indonesia without a criminal record.
'The chief of Kuta police has signed the release order. Here is the release order and we have other documents for the closure of this case," he said while showing the paperwork.
The lawyer said that no money as compensation has changed hands however, Fifita did apologise to the security guard he was accused of hitting in the face.
"Similar like the other boys who drink too much alcohol and they (find it) difficult to control (themselves)," Mr Rifan said.
The lawyer explained that Fifita reached out to hit the security guard without "mens rea", or with "no intention".
"Of course, he will go back to his club to report what happened over here and then he will continue his career and we pray for success in his future," Mr Rifan said.
The forward was accused of hitting a security guard, Dani Irawan, in a car park of the Seminyak night spot La Favela in the early hours of Saturday morning.
When news broke of Fifita's arrest, Broncos welfare officer Adam Walsh immediately flew to Indonesia.
Walsh helped broker a "peace agreement" between the athlete and the 33-year-old security
guard, who has withdrawn his complaint to police.
So-called "peace agreements" are commonplace in Indonesia and it ensures that
the New Zealand national is no longer a suspect in the assault case.
At the time, Fifita's lawyer said that league player had no recollection of events.
Police said that he was too "drunk" to be questioned by detectives.
After 24-hours in the Kuta lockup he was briefly named as a suspect in the alleged assault, as required by Indonesian law.
Fifita is expected to be interviewed by the NRL's integrity unit once he is back in Queensland.
Fifita and some teammates, including Payne Haas, were enjoying an end-of-season vacation on the holiday island in the luxurious Villa Bahamas where they had access to a private barber and a trendy custom-made motorcycle.
In a prepared statement released on Sunday night, the Broncos said: "David is respectful of Indonesian law and is co-operating with local authorities."
"The Broncos are also working with the NRL integrity unit on the issue.
"The club will provide more updates as information becomes available."
Irawan had previously said that Fifita had apologised to him, but first wanted to meet him again to ensure he was truly remorseful.
Initially, Putu Ika Prabawa, chief of the detective unit, said the Brisbane Broncos player could face charges of beatings with a maximum sentence of two years and eight months in prison.
HOW THE INCIDENT ALLEGEDLY UNFOLDED
Irawan said the man who hit him, alleged to be Fifita, hit him with his left hand.
"His hands are balled into fists. I was hit on the right cheek. He had stopped, wanted to attack again. He (didn't) say anything. I had never met him (before) I had problems with him. After being beaten, I went inside (the club)," Mr Irawan said.
Mr Irawan alleged that the man who allegedly hit him appeared "drunk".
He said was shocked when Fifita, who was leaving La Favela on a motorbike taxi, allegedly punched him on the right cheek.
He also alleged that Fifita tried to jump from the motorbike to punch him again but was prevented from doing so by the bike rider.
That was when he decided to report Fifita to police.
"I just don't like to see arrogant tourists. We should give him a lesson," he said.
Irawan was not aware the Broncos star was a sporting celebrity until his boss told him.
Local garbage collector Made Sutama witnessed the alleged attack and told News Corp he saw a man "swinging his hand at the security."
Fifita's lawyer Muhammad Rifan said the New Zealand national had few recollections of the event.
"Overall he is OK. Actually, it's not too much that he can remember," Mr Rifan said.
Mr Rifan said that the issue was "not really a big case", labelling it a "misunderstanding" and something he hope could be solved "immediately"
The incident took place at the same nightspot where Asofa-Solomona was involved in a wild brawl, which resulted in a three-game ban and a suspended $15,000 fine, and cames a fortnight after Fifita captained a Junior Kangaroos team to a win over France in Wollongong.
The 19-year-old is also set to enter the final year of his NRL contract, and is widely considered arguably the hottest free agent available for the 2021 season. He has been linked with a number of NRL clubs, including South Sydney.
NRL STAR RECENTLY UNDER FIRE
The incident in Bali is not the first time the Broncos rookie has been in trouble.
It the second time in the past two months Fifita has found himself in hot water off the field.
In September, he was one of several Broncos players who came under fire for leaving the team hotel to play poker machines just 24 hours before Brisbane's sudden-death finals clash against Parramatta.
The Broncos subsequently lost 58-0 in the worst defeat in their history, with Fifita and several Broncos stars lashed for their unprofessionalism.
Despite this latest incident, the Broncos are unlikely to sack Fifita.
The Maroons and Test forward is one of the game's rising superstars with as many as 10 NRL rivals keen to poach Fifita, who is off-contract next year, with offers of up to $1 million a season.
Broncos boss Paul White has spoken with Fifita's mother, Gwen, who has expressed concern for her son's welfare.
Just three weeks ago, NRL CEO Greenberg put NRL stars on notice following the Asofa-Solomona saga.
"Make good decisions, and if you're in a situation like that where there is trouble brewing, walk away," Greenbeg said.
"Take yourself out of that situation. And make very smart choices particularly late at night. That is my advice to players.
"I think every single player who puts on an NRL jersey is acutely aware of their responsibility. We can't have a repeat of what we saw last year."
- With staff writers