Kangaroos fullback Billy Slater has spoken of his disappointment after an unprovoked attack in a Manchester nightclub.
The Melbourne Storm veteran was detained by police in the early hours of Monday in the northern England city, but was released by Greater Manchester Police without charge after questioning and CCTV footage was reviewed.
I’m disappointed the spotlight is on this and not the tournament.
Slater had returned to the nightclub to collect his jacket before an unprovoked attack. Local police say Slater was punched by a 40-year-old man and retaliated in self-defence.
“I’m disappointed the spotlight is on this and not the tournament,” Slater said at a press conference this morning.
“So I wanted to express my disappointment there and more forward.”
Slater said the incident was a “wake up call”.
“I think we have to be aware of the situations we find ourselves in and I suppose it’s a bit of a wake up call for when we do go out.”
But Slater said he did not want it to prevent players going out and having a good time.
The Australian squad had traveled to Manchester after beating Ireland 50-0 in their final pool match at the Rugby League World Cup in Limerick on Saturday.
The team is set to take on the United States in Wales on Saturday.
Slater said his main concern was letting his family know that he was ok. Slater’s wife Nicole had taken to social media to defend him saying this kind of behaviour “had to stop”.
“Some man thought it was ok to punch my husband in the face because he thought he pushed in line,” she said. “If he had king hit him and killed him I would have to raise my 2 kids alone.
“What has this world come to?”
She said people did not consider there was a family behind everyone.
“And your actions in that 2 sec can change people’s lives 4 ever. This has to stop.”