Test star Jason Taumalolo is set to play for North Queensland in Saturday’s NRL qualifying final against Melbourne despite being charged by police after allegedly throwing eggs at cars.
Coach Paul Green told media on Thursday morning that the club will conduct investigate the matter but no decisions would be made before the match.
“Once we get to the bottom of the facts, will make some decisions about what happens when we get back next week,” Green said.
“The club has been in contact with the integrity unit … I’ve also personally spoken to (NRL CEO) Todd Greenberg this morning, he’s aware of it.”
Powerhouse second rower Taumalolo and four other Cowboys players, not believed to be first graders, were charged with two counts of wilful damage and they will face court on October 11.
The group were stopped by police for a random breath test after a person accused them of throwing eggs in Townsville just before midnight on Wednesday and they are scheduled to face court on October 11.
It came only hours before the defending champion Cowboys were scheduled to fly to Melbourne for the clash with minor premiers the Storm at AAMI Park.
And it was just two days after Taumalolo represented the Cowboys at the NRL’s finals launch in Sydney.
Given the nature of the alleged offence, it’s unlikely any of the players will be suspended, with fines an option.
“It’s disappointing if it does turn out to be true as it’s not what we are about as a club, but as I said in the whole scheme of things we are talking about an egging here and let’s keep it in context,” Green said.
“Back when I was the same age, I probably would have been as much trouble as these boys, if it does turn out to be true.”
It’s claimed that earlier in the evening the men – aged 18, 21, 22, 23 and 25 – purchased and threw eggs which damaged five vehicles, before driving off.
“It will further be alleged a number of eggs and egg cartons were located in the vehicle,” Queensland Police said in a statement on Thursday.
Taumalolo has played five Tests for the Kiwis and has developed into one of the Cowboys’ strike weapons since his debut in 2010 as a 17-year-old.
North Queensland under-20s star Kalyn Ponga is another of the players, according to News Corp Australia, with the club’s youth team set to play St George Illawarra on Friday night.
While the other players are not believed to be first-grade players, one of the Cowboys’ Queensland Cup feeder sides, the Townsville Blackhawks, remains in the reserve grade finals.