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How Api Koroisau won back the NSW Origin team’s trust after hotel room cheating scandal

Many felt Api Koroisau’s time was up at State of Origin level following his infamous Covid bubble breach involving a woman in his hotel room last year – but an honest chat with Blues coach Brad Fittler has flipped the outcome.

The incident saw the Penrith hooker, 29, fined $50,000 and it was widely expected Koroisau had played his last game for NSW as his breach of the Covid bubble could have put the entire NRL competition at risk.

A remorseful Koroisau, who is married and has two daughters, accepted his punishment – and secretly feared he would never again be selected to face Queensland.

‘Definitely, I thought that was the end for me,’ Koroisau told the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘I thought that was it. But all I could do at the time was learn from it and grow as a person. Freddy’s shown faith in me to bring me back in. He’s asked me to do a job and I’m just grateful for the opportunity.’

Many felt Api Koroisau’s time was up at State of Origin level following his infamous Covid bubble breach involving a woman in his hotel room last year (pictured at Coogee on Monday after making the NSW Blues squad)

A heart to heart with Blues coach Brad Fittler saw Api Koroisau given a second chance at Origin level after he risked his Origin career - and marriage to wife Amy (pictured together) by smuggling a woman into his room during camp last year

A heart to heart with Blues coach Brad Fittler saw Api Koroisau given a second chance at Origin level after he risked his Origin career – and marriage to wife Amy (pictured together) by smuggling a woman into his room during camp last year

Koroisau will act as Damien Cook’s understudy in Origin camp this week, but if the Rabbitohs dummy-half is injured or has a poor game in the series opener at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on June 8, the Panthers number nine will be a likely straight swap for game two in Perth.

Fittler and NSW selector Greg Alexander have personally vouched for Koroisau, with the coach admitting his electric form for Penrith saw him a lock in the 22-man extended squad following their heart to heart conversation.

Koroisau was found to have snuck a woman he met online into his hotel room during State of Origin camp last June.

Aside from his two fines from the NRL and NSWRL, he was also issued a two-match ban for breaching the Covid player bubble and for putting entire NRL competition at risk in Brisbane. 

He also had to face up to the pain he caused his heartbroken wife Amy, who stood by his side in the wake of the embarrassing sex scandal.

The ‘other’ woman at the centre of the controversy was never contacted by the NRL officials to provide a statement about sneaking into State of Origin camp and breaching biosecurity protocols on two separate occasions.

She then publicly claimed the punishment was not severe enough given Koroisau breached the game’s Covid bubble and proceeded to cover it up for three weeks.

‘There was all the public shame…but two weeks (ban) is nothing,’ she said at the time. 

The woman, who was never formally identified, was also surprised she was never contacted by Integrity Unit officials to provide a statement about the details of the rendezvous inside the team hotel.

‘I’m shocked by the NRL just going off Api’s word…Trusting a guy who brought me into camp twice and a planned third time,’ she said.  

The woman claims she was smuggled into the Blues hotel on June 20 in Homebush and on June 27 – the date of State of Origin game two – in Brisbane.

She later admitted the affair to Koroisau’s wife, who was shattered.

Koroisau issued a grovelling apology while his wife admitted she had been left ‘immensely hurt’ by the revelations.

Api Koroisau was later fined $50,000 by the NRL and NSWRL and suspended for two games after Daily Mail Australia exclusively revealed that he allegedly put the entire NRL competition at risk in 2021 by smuggling a woman he met on Instagram into the Blues hotel twice

Api Koroisau was later fined $50,000 by the NRL and NSWRL and suspended for two games after Daily Mail Australia exclusively revealed that he allegedly put the entire NRL competition at risk in 2021 by smuggling a woman he met on Instagram into the Blues hotel twice

The 'other' woman who accused Koroisau of breaching quarantine said she met the footballer on Instagram in early June last year, and their communication quickly moved to Snapchat

The ‘other’ woman who accused Koroisau of breaching quarantine said she met the footballer on Instagram in early June last year, and their communication quickly moved to Snapchat

‘I made the choice to do the wrong thing and my actions have brought shame and embarrassment to many people, especially my wife and children. I will be forever sorry,’ the footy player said.

He apologised to the fans for putting the game at risk, to his wife and two daughters for the ‘pain caused through selfish, thoughtless actions’. 

‘I’m determined to become a better partner, father and protector, and hopefully rebuild trust, and earn back your love and our family,’ he said. 

Koroisau was 18th man for games one and two of the State of Origin series, and allegedly first invited the woman to join him at the Novotel in Homebush on June 20. 

‘I was told to message him when my Uber was about to drop me off and walk straight into the lifts, where he would be waiting for me,’ the woman said of the ‘strict’ instructions provided to her upon agreeing to meet with him.

Koroisau was in the elevator when the woman arrived, and ushered her directly up to his room.

They allegedly spent about two hours together before Koroisau told her to leave because he had to return to his teammates who were all together downstairs.

Following her husband's affair in 2021, Koroisau's glamorous wife Amy forgave the footy star

Following her husband’s affair in 2021, Koroisau’s glamorous wife Amy forgave the footy star

Daily Mail Australia understands Koroisau sent grovelling texts (pictured) to his wife after she was told of the incident with the woman during State of Origin

Daily Mail Australia understands Koroisau sent grovelling texts (pictured) to his wife after she was told of the incident with the woman during State of Origin

Less than 12 hours later, Koroisau and his Blues teammates flew to Kingscliff, where Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk granted them an exemption to ensure the State of Origin match could go ahead.

On June 27, the day of the second match, the woman said Koroisau invited her to join him at the Sofitel resort in Brisbane – but he warned her it would be ‘difficult’ given he now had a roommate. 

She said he suggested she book her own room in the hotel – and even allegedly offered to pay for it.          

The woman said she booked a room in her own name and met Koroisau when she arrived. He then took a key to her room on his way out and returned to see her about midnight after his team sealed the series in a 26-0 thrashing of Queensland.  

She claims Koroisau didn’t want his roommate to know he was breaching strict isolation rules implemented by camp officials, and that he left her room about 6am. 

The pair planned to meet again before game three, but the woman said Korosiau pulled the pin after word spread that Queensland forward Jai Arrow had been booted out of camp for having a dancer in his room.

‘We didn’t want to ruin his (Koroisau) debut… so we decided it would be best that I didn’t come,’ she said.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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