Black eye for NRL’s shining weekend – ‘very serious’ sexual assault claims under investigation

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo has described rape allegations levelled at a Queensland-based player as “very serious” and confirmed the league is working with a club on an investigation.

May 16, 2024, updated May 16, 2024
Andrew Abdo says it's impossible to know what's around the corner for the NRL (Photo: AAP).

Andrew Abdo says it's impossible to know what's around the corner for the NRL (Photo: AAP).

The player, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has not yet been charged but was the subject of a formal complaint made to Queensland Police by a woman.

“Obviously they’re very serious allegations,” Abdo said.

“We are working with the relevant parties to find out more and obviously as we find out more, we’ll be able to say more. But at this stage, all I can say is that it’s very disappointing to hear about these allegations.

“They are very serious. We have policies in place to deal with these (issues) should they eventuate. We’ll deal with the facts once we know a bit more.”

If charged, the player would become subject to the league’s no-fault stand-down policy, which suspends any player charged with an offence that carries a possible prison term of at least 11 years.

Under Queensland law, accused sex offenders cannot be named publicly until they have been charged, so the NRL likely cannot stand the player down until then for risk of identifying him publicly.

“I can’t really comment on it until we know all the facts,” Abdo said.

“Once we know all the facts, we can make decisions based on our policies and obviously respecting the relevant legislation as well.”

The event hit another hurdle Thursday when drawcard Reece Walsh withdrew from the Broncos match on Friday with a knee complaint.

Brisbane don’t have the option of playing Tristan Sailor at fullback because he is out for at least a month with an ankle injury.

Cobbo has played fullback before with panache.

Queensland Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski confirmed the claims were under investigation.

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“I understand these types of investigations are quite complex, so it may take some time to go through that,” he said.

“But as we always do, we will allow the investigators to do their work and establish the truth and what evidence there is.

“I’ve got high confidence in our people.”

The accusations came days out from the NRL’s showpiece event Magic Round, to be held in Brisbane this weekend.

“We’ll keep moving,” Abdo said.

“We have strong policies in place, we have zero tolerance for any form of violence against anyone so we will wait to see what the facts are and then be able to say more in due course.”

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

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