St George Illawarra Dragons winger Wes Naiqama was sentenced today to 12 months periodic detention, with a six-month non-parole period, for driving while disqualified.
Its understood Naiqama will serve his periodic detention on weekdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, leaving him free to play on the weekends.
In November 2006, the 24-year-old was photgraphed in Surry Hills (Sydney) in the driver's seat of a motor vehicle. Naiqama had just left a cafe with his girlfriend, Australian Idol star Paulini Curuenavuli.
A Daily Telegraph photographer was interviewed by police and Naiqama was later charged.
In December 2006, Naiqama pleaded guilty in Waverley Court.
Naiqama was already suspended from driving until 2013. The most recent incident was the fourth time he had been charged with driving while disqualified.
Magistrate Chris Longley today suspended Naiqama's driving licence for a further two years until 2015 and handed down 12 months' periodic detention, with a six-month non-parole period.
In addition, Naiqama could still face the sack from St George Illawarra with club officials previously indicating that they would consider any further action following today's court appearance.
Born 19 Oct 1982 in Sydney to Fijian parents, Naiqama has starred for the Dragons and Fiji.
In 2002, the Arncliffe Scots (St George) junior secured an all grades club record by scoring 38 points against North Sydney while playing Jersey Flegg (third grade). Naiqama crossed for five tries and kicked nine goals from as many attempts to surpass the joint record of 36 points held by Les Griffin and post-war legend Jack Lindwall.
Also in 2002, Naiqama played for the Dragons in the Jersey Flegg Grand Final.
In 2003, Naiqama was selected for Fiji in the Sydney Rugby League World Sevens tournament.
In a career hampered by injury, the young Naiqama was temporarily employed by St George Leagues Club as a bartender.
In 2004, Naiqama was the Dragons best player in the Premier League (second grade) Grand Final.
In 2005, Naiqama finally debuted in the top grade. In the same year, he scored nine tries and 25 goals for a personal tally of 86 points, the club's second highest scorer for the season.
Naiqama was recently named developing nations player of the year after helping guide the Pacific Island nation to the 2008 World Cup.Like