Josh Addo-Carr has reportedly been banned by the NRL for the opening two matches of Australia’s Pacific Championships series.
The Bulldogs flyer was selected in Mal Meninga’s Kangaroos squad on Tuesday, but the veteran coach has now been forced to deal with the big selection drama of calling up Panthers star Dylan Edwards.
The Sydney Morning Herald first reported Addo-Carr was told about the suspension on Wednesday night following an investigation into the ugly brawl at the Koori Knockout on the NSW Central Coast.
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The incident remains under police investigation.
The report claims Edwards has already been told about his call-up to join the 21-man Kangaroos squad ahead of Australia’s first Test against Samoa in Townsville on October 14.
Edwards was perhaps the most unlucky player to have been left out of the original squad after his explosive performances during the Panthers’ finals campaign.
It will be a big blow for Meninga and Addo-Carr with the former Melbourne Storm winger proving to be one of the Kangaroos’ most prolific try scorers in recent years.
“We’re not going to comment on the Addo-Carr situation because it’s with the integrity unit, and we’ll let them do their investigation,” Meninga said on Tuesday after selecting Addo-Carr in his squad.
Footage from the Koori Knockout brawl appears to show punches were thrown during a match between Addo-Carr’s All Blacks team an a Wallgett side that included incoming Rabbitoh Jack Wighton.
Addo-Carr reportedly left the scene before police were called.
In a statement to news.com.au, NSW Police said that the fight broke out when spectators attempted to break up the on-field fight.
“About 1.45pm (Saturday 30 September 2023), two teams were playing as part of a rugby league carnival at a sporting complex at Tuggerah, when an on-field fight broke out,” the statement said.
“Some players and spectators attempted to break up the fight, which then spread off-field, whilst others became involved.
“Police and event security broke up the brawl a short time later and the crowd dispersed, before the game was called off.
“There are no reports of injuries at this time.
“Police from Tuggerah Lakes Police District are working closely with event organisers and NSW Rugby League.”
Bulldogs general manager of football Phil Gould took to Twitter to address the incident in a since-deleted tweet, confirming the club had been in contact with Addo-Carr.
“Bulldogs have spoken personally to Josh Addo-Carr and he is fine,” Gould said.
“No issues at all. Unfortunate incident, but he’s taken no harm. More as it comes to hand.”
The tournament is one of the biggest Indigenous sporting events in the country, and brings together 150 teams from around Australia to showcase some of the nation’s top Indigenous rugby league talent.
Over 40,000 people are expected to brave scorching weekend temperatures to attend the tournament, which is being held at the Central Coast Regional Sporting and Recreation Complex at Tuggerah.