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NRL News: Latrell and Braith in restaurant bust-up, Abdo speaks on 'very disappointing' rape accusation

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Souths superstar Latrell Mitchell and NRL360 host and player agent Braith Anasta were involved in a public argument at a Sydney restaurant on Wednesday night according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The pair were both at Chin Chin in Surry Hills with their respective families when Mitchell took Anasta to task over his comments on South Sydney, with reports that Mitchell offered the former NSW Origin star outside to continue the discussion, though the Herald claims the alleged altercation was never physical.

Anasta was recently taken to task by Souths CEO Blake Solly live on NRL360, who questioned his dual roles as a journalist on that programme and as a player agent for Bunnies halfback Lachlan Ilias, with the TV host claiming he was not a journalist.

Magic Round tarnished as Origin star faces rape accusation

The NRL’s showpiece Magic Round event is in danger of being swamped by negative headlines with three incidents tarnishing the build-up to the three-day festival at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

A high-profile Queensland-based NRL player has been accused of rape with Nine News airing the allegations on Wednesday night.

The player is reportedly a State of Origin representative who plays for one of the four Queensland teams but cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Queensland Police went to the player’s house on Tuesday with the woman involved who has since made a formal complaint but no charges have been laid.

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“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,” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.

“At this stage, all I can say is that it’s very disappointing to hear about these allegations that are very serious.

“We have policies in place to deal with these things should they eventuate. We’ll deal with the facts once we know more.

“It’s all speculation at the moment so I can’t really comment on it until we know all the facts.

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

Meanwhile, journeyman halfback Brandon Wakeham was arrested by NSW Police on Wednesday, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, over potential drug offences.

Brandon Wakeham. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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The 25-year-old Fijian representative had been playing for Manly’s feeder club Blacktown this year and had been called up for the Sea Eagles squad as a reserve for their Friday night Magic Round clash with Brisbane.

He has made 40 NRL appearances since starting out with Canterbury five years ago.

The NRL Integrity Unit is aware of both incidents and is investigating the matters.

Two spectators have been banned indefinitely from attending NRL games after allegedly racially abusing Indigenous players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker during a round-10 game.

On Sunday, the NRL received a report from a fan who claimed the two South Sydney players had been targeted by members of the Jubilee Oval crowd during the loss to St George Illawarra the previous night.

The integrity unit began investigating the matter and on Wednesday afternoon the NRL issued two spectators with a breach notice under the league’s spectator code of conduct.

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The code of conduct states patrons risk being disqualified from buying tickets if they “make racial or threatening remarks or gestures” at games.

“Racism must be called out in all its forms because the standard you walk past is the standard you accept,” said NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo.

“Abusive behaviour directed at players will not be tolerated. I commend the fans that acted on this and brought it to our attention. With this information we have been able to take action.

“As a game we need to stand with our players and ensure they are treated with respect at all times. We will continue to protect players in their place of work.”

The two spectators, unnamed by the NRL, have five business days to respond.

In a club statement, the Rabbitohs said they were “very supportive” of the bans and thanked NSW Police, the NRL and Dragons for their co-operation in investigating the matter.

“We welcome the NRL’s stance and the banning of these two perpetrators,” said Souths chief executive Blake Solly.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 09: NRL CEO Andrew Abdo speaks to the media during a press conference at Rugby League Central on August 09, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

“We applaud the members of the public that stood up and called out this disgraceful behaviour. We hope more people show the bravery that this person has shown to call out racism in an effort to eradicate it from our society.

“We continue to support our players and their families who, unfortunately, still have to face this type of behaviour.

“Racism is archaic, disgusting and will not be tolerated.

“We call for supporters who attend games to respect all players and their efforts on the field.”

Mitchell had been playing his first game back from a three-game suspension for dangerous contact when he was targeted with the abuse, while stand-in captain Walker was playing his 200th NRL game.

A Biripi man, Mitchell was racially abused by a spectator at game in March last year, with that patron banned from future NRL games pending his apology to the Souths star and the completion of educational programs.

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The latest incident comes after the NRL judiciary handed Sydney Roosters prop Spencer Leniu an eight-game ban earlier this season for calling Brisbane’s Ezra Mam a “monkey” during the sides’ round-one clash in Las Vegas.

with AAP

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