Former Knights physical performance manager Tony Ayoub defended himself against explosive claims from Nathan Ross that he mismanaged a string of winger injuries, which ultimately led to his medical retirement.
Ross, who played 60 games for the club between 2015-18, retired from the game medically in early 2019, saying at the time that persistent groin and pelvis injuries were preventing him from keep playing.
In an interview with Newcastle Herald reporter Barry Toohey, Ross alleged that Ayoub, then in charge of the club’s physical performance, did not deal with injuries properly, a claim denied by Ayoub.
“First, I’m sorry if Nathan thinks that way,” Ayoub said in a statement provided to Wide World of Sports.
“It would have been nice if Nathan had reached out to discuss his issues before releasing it in the public domain.
“I can only draw on my 30 years of experience in dealing with injuries and what I see as an appropriate way to deal with and train them in what was my ability as a physio-chief and then a manager. performance in different clubs. “
Ayoub went on to observe that he always had the best interests of his players at heart.
“In some cases, some players needed to push based on what I was evaluating at the time. At no point did I intentionally push a player who I didn’t think I could handle or handle loads. would never put them in a position where I felt it would be to the detriment of their health, ”Ayoub said.
“Again, it’s disappointing that Nathan feels this way and it’s even more disappointing that he has chosen a public forum to discuss his issues. At no point did he reach out.
“I would be more than happy to discuss this with Nathan on a private basis.”
Ayoub left Newcastle to join the Bulldogs in 2018 and is no longer involved in the NRL.
Ross’s grievances include being told nothing was wrong after being told he tore his groin against Brisbane in 2018.
“I was told I was just weak and needed to get tough – so I tied my right groin and then my left groin tore, and so once again I was told nothing was not going there, but they got me. could not be treated properly, “Ross said on the podcast Toohey’s news.
“I was training on a day when I could barely run – and my genitals went numb from the pinched nerves inside my pelvis. I went to the head of high performance and he basically told me to run away.
“There wasn’t a lot of care there at the time.”
Ross said he knew it was time to retire when he tried to sprint to support a Kalyn Ponga line break, only to have forward Mitch Barnett in front of him.
“There’s a mental side to this thing, when you’ve got so many people saying there’s nothing wrong with you, but you know inside how your body feels,” he says.
“The hardest part was that the coach (Nathan Brown) knew I was injured and then in a video shoot he brought up this clip of Barny walking past me and tried to show me in front of the whole team.
“It was quite difficult to deal with, when the leader of a club was trying to make people feel less than they are.”
Ross eventually saw a specialist in Sydney who he said ‘couldn’t believe’ the winger’s pelvic degeneration, or that it had not been reported earlier.
“I’ve had both groins operated on, I’ve had two hernias repaired and now I have a net wrapped around my pelvis, much like Crimsafe, to keep everything stable,” said Ross.
“It probably took about two years after my medical retirement before my body returned to normal functioning.
Ross admitted her relationship with Brown, who has since left Newcastle and is now in charge of New Zealand, was not good, going so far as to call her “rather poor”.
Wide World of Sports has reached out to Brown for comment.
Wide World of Sports does not suggest that the allegations against Ayoub or Brown are true, just that they were made.
In an email response, the Newcastle Knights acknowledged being made aware of comments on the podcast and said they would follow due process, while respecting the need for privacy and confidentiality.
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