Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have released second-row forward Corey Harawira-Naera, while retaining winger Jayden Okunbor. The pair have not played in 2020 after having their contracts de-registered by the NRL following a pre-season incident involving Port Macquarie schoolgirls. Their sanctions were recently downgraded to suspensions and fines.
New Zealand international Harawira-Naera has joined the Raiders, the club announcing he will see out the 2020 season in Canberra.
"Corey is a very talented player who's played representative football for New Zealand and we're looking forward to having him join the club for the next two and half years," Raiders chief executive Don Furner said.
"He will join the squad for training once he's been cleared by the Apollo committee and then its up to the coaching staff to work out when he may play his first game for the club."
"After discussions with both Jayden and Corey it has been agreed that Corey will leave the club and Jayden will stay at Belmore," the statement read.
"The club acknowledges that the original decision to de-register the two players was overturned by the NRL Appeals Committee. This committee, which was headed by a former High Court Judge of Australia, made a ruling that stated that the players' contracts at the Bulldogs were binding and that the club was required to uphold these contracts. As such, the club met with both Jayden and Corey in regard to resuming their contracts at Belmore.
"Jayden expressed his desire to remain at Belmore and apologised unreservedly to the club and the wider rugby league community for the harm he had caused to all parties. He has since undergone counselling as part of his rehabilitation and has pledged to offer his time to be involved in a full re-integration into the Bulldogs Community program.
"Corey also apologised for his actions to all parties concerned, however, after further discussion with the player it was felt that in the best interests of both parties he get a fresh start away from Belmore."
Harawira-Naera was one of the Bulldogs' best last year after moving to Belmore from Penrith. Okunbor has been in and out of the first grade team in recent years and rejoins the Bulldogs overstocked ranks of fringe first grade outside backs.