Wests Tigers Tim Simona confesses cocaine abuse, gambling addiction

The NSW Police Minister expects there will be a criminal investigation into claims made by de-registered Wests Tigers player Tim Simona.

In a video confession released today, Simona admitted to years of undetected cocaine abuse. He also detailed his involvement illegal gambling and defrauding charities.

Simona was earning up to $325,000 a year but has nothing to show for it.

He said he was losing up to $5000 a weekend to gambling.

Following the explosive claims, a former drug testing boss told 7 News action was needed.

Simona admitted his drug habits began three years ago, with teammates on a Wests Tigers Mad Monday cruise.

He claimed up to seven other players also took drugs.

“Everyone was pretty much on it, and I just felt like you know… wanted to be a part of it,” he said.

Simona was earning up to $325,000 a year at the height of his NRL career. Photo: Sunday Telegraph
Simona was earning up to $325,000 a year at the height of his NRL career. Photo: Sunday Telegraph

He claimed he then used cocaine every time he went out, spending up to $1500 a weekend.

“Hanging around with the wrong crowd, and I’ve got a few friends that influenced me… going out and taking drugs,” he said.

The drug use was never detected by the Wests Tigers or the NRL.

“I’d take it on a Friday so by Monday I think it would be out of my system,” he said.

Wests Tigers boss Justin Pascoe refused to comment on Simona’s claims of other player’s drug use.

The NRL also provided a statement saying it had conducted more than 2000 drug tests last year.

“The NRL conducts random and targeted testing throughout the season, and the number of tests has increased since 2015.”

The NSW police minister has since called for witnesses to come forward following the claims.

“If I passed the pub, RSL or leagues club I’d stop by and I’d throw hundreds of dollars in the machines,” he said.

“I’d also put a hoodie or cap on so nobody sees me.”

In 2016 he said he began betting on NRL games, using an account set up in his then girlfriend's name.

The NRL integrity unit became suspicious of Simona and an investigation ended on Friday with his de-registration and a lifetime ban.

An investigated resulted in Simona receiving a life-time ban. Photo: AAP
An investigated resulted in Simona receiving a life-time ban. Photo: AAP

He said his lies started to unravel when his ex-girlfriend fell pregnant, admitting he encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy.

“After that I decided to go our separate ways and that’s when all these dramas started happening,” he said.

He said he was still supported by his former teammates and that he has learned his lesson.

“I definitely think it’s a learning curve for me, you know it’s a relief letting it all out,” he said.

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