Queensland’s silent six emerge to face music
"Curfewgate" has claimed another six Queensland Origin hopefuls who admitted they snuck out of an emerging players' camp in Brisbane last weekend to go out drinking.
Cronulla's Valentine Holmes, who was arrested and fined $1406 by police, and young Melbourne star Cameron Munster were the only two players initially punished for breaking team curfew, despite claims others were out drinking with them.
With Munster pushing for an appeal against his one-year Origin selection ban, the Queensland Rugby League revealed Anthony Milford, Jarrod Wallace, Ben Hunt, Dylan Napa, Edrick Lee and Chris Grevsmuhl had since come forward after an internal investigation.
Just 24 hours after QRL chairman Peter Betros declared the probe closed due to a lack of evidence, the six players gave themselves up to new coach Kevin Walters.
"Our initial focus was on Valentine Holmes because of the involvement of the NRL Integrity Unit," QRL managing director Rob Moore explained from Auckland.
"As we suspected, there were other players who broke curfew and we have now gone through a process of interviewing players.
"Due to pre-season commitments, we've only been able to finalise that today.
"To the players' credit, they've come forward, and because of the importance we place on our QAS Emerging Origin program, they will receive the same sanction as Cameron Munster."
The same players had been given the chance last Sunday to own up, but had remained silent.
A furious Walters asked Munster (pictured) to reveal the players who had broken curfew to go out drinking, but he declined to dob them in. The Storm young gun believed he had been made a scapegoat and wanted to appeal his 12-month suspension from the program.
With a total of eight players now having been handed the same sanction, the appeal will not proceed.
Barring injuries, Hunt and Napa were the players most likely to have been in contention for an Origin spot this year.