New Zealand Test star Jason Taumalolo is one of five North Queensland players charged on the eve of the NRL finals after allegedly throwing eggs at cars.
Taumalolo and the other four players, not believed to be first graders, were charged with two counts of wilful damage.
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 will face court on October 11.
It came just hours before the defending champion Cowboys were scheduled to fly to Melbourne for Saturday’s qualifying final against 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.
The Cowboys informed the NRL integrity unit, who will only step in if they believe any punishment handed out by the club is not adequate.
Given the nature of the offence, it’s unlikely any of the players will be suspended, but rather fined.
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.