Excitement machine James Puautjimi is unlikely to play at all this season after struggling with the demands of playing in the QAFL competition.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Former NT Thunder Rising Star nominee James Puautjimi is unlikey to register a game for the club in 2010 after struggling to come to terms with the professional requirements of being involved in the QAFL.

Registered as a marquee player by the Thunder last summer following an explosive debut in 2009, Puautjimi claimed publicly last week that he had been unfairly treated, but the Thunder management remained strong in their resolve.

Puautjimi told the NT News that he didn’t want to play for the club this season because he was ‘unfairly treated’, adding he had attended all required training sessions.

“I stopped playing after Round 8, told them I’m not playing anymore,” the St Marys premiership player told Jess Webster. “I kept turning up at training but I wasn’t getting a game.”

“(I) had a little talk with (chief executive) Stuart Totham and he wanted me to come back, and I told him I’d think about it, but I’ve decided to move on now.”

The News reports that those statements came as a shock to Totham, given Puautjimi hasn’t played a single game due to his lack of commitment on the training track.

“His attendance at training has been spasmodic at best, and we’ve made it clear to James that he is welcome to come out anytime,” Totham said, before offering an olive branch.
“If he meets the training requirements he will be considered for selection along with other players.

”We’ve made it clear all along that we’d love for James to play for our team, because we think a committed and fit James would make our team better.”

Thunder coach Murray Davis echoed Totham’s comments and says the side’s position in the QAFL is reflective of the work put in by the current players.

The Territory is sitting in fourth spot on the ladder with four rounds remaining, and is poised to make its historic first finals berth in September.

“It’s not fair on those who have done the work and those that are committed in doing the training,” Davis said.

“We’ve got to be strong on that because we can’t be a club that just accepts not turning up to training.

“We are seeing the fruits of that now because hopefully we will be playing in our first finals series.”

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