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Reni Maitua's mental health 'not very good'

RAW VISION: Bulldogs player Reni Maitua will be seeking treatment for mental health issues after pleading not guilty to assaulting a taxi driver.

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Bulldogs rugby league player Reni Maitua will seek to have his charges of assaulting a taxi driver dealt with under mental health legislation.

Maitua, 31, is accused of striking Abdelhamid Bensaidi, at Daceyville in Sydney's south-east, at 4.41am on November 25 last year, after a night out in Kings Cross.

Maitua, from Kingsford, was the second high-profile league player to face court in as many days for late-night assaults.

Reni Maitua leaving Waverley Court.

Reni Maitua leaving Waverley Court. His mental health was described as 'not too good'. Photo: Nick Moir

On Monday, Newcastle Knight Russell Packer was sentenced to two years' jail for an assault in Sydney's CBD in November.

In Waverley Local Court on Tuesday, Maitua's lawyer, Danny Eid, entered a plea of not guilty to one charge of common assault.

Mr Eid said he would be making an application to have the matter dealt with under section 32 of the Mental Health Act.

If the application is accepted, the magistrate may dismiss the charge unconditionally or may place conditions on Maitua, such as seeking psychiatric treatment.

Last month, Maitua revealed he had attempted suicide in August following a battle with depression.

Outside the court, Mr Eid said, ''We'll defend the allegations. We're confident in due course that the court will give him a proper hearing.'' Mr Eid said Maitua's mental health ''is not too good''.

''But we're seeking the appropriate treatment that he needs and he is committed to that treatment,'' he said.

At the time of the alleged incident, Maitua apologised on Twitter.

''Deeply apologetic to the gentlemen [sic] involved, Canterbury, the fans, my family and the game in general. I have no excuses for my poor behaviour and will accept any punishment handed to me from the Powers to be. I was charged with common assault for pushing the gentleman's arm, by no means is that acceptable but certainly didn't strike anyone. Again I am truly sorry to everyone I have let down.''

Maitua, 31, had only just returned to the Bulldogs, with whom he won a premiership in 2004, after completing stints with Parramatta and Cronulla. He served a two-year ban after testing positive to a banned substance in 2009.

Canterbury initially stood him down but have agreed to keep him at the club under strict conditions.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.