Allegations of cocaine supply against code-hopping star Karmichael Hunt and two Gold Coast NRL players are believed to be the first of many, according to reports.
Hunt was dramatically stood down by the Australian Rugby Union and Queensland Rugby Union on Friday after it was revealed Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) had served him with a notice to appear on four charges of supplying a dangerous drug.
The news rocked the Queensland Reds, who have been forced to alter their team for Saturday’s home Super Rugby clash against the Western Force in Brisbane.
The Gold Coast Titans are also in crisis mode after it was later revealed last year’s player of the year Beau Falloon and fringe first-grader Jamie Dowling had also been given notices to appear.
All three are set to face Southport Magistrates Court on March 5 as well as an unnamed 22-year-old Gold Coast woman.
The CCC alleges all four had been implicated during an investigation into a multi-million dollar trafficking syndicate in southeast Queensland.
It’s believed the charges are linked to the arrest of former State of Origin players Jason Smith and Matt Seers in separate incidents in January.
Newspaper reports also suggest Friday’s revelations are the first of many to come from the CCC’s investigation.
The Courier-Mail claims up to 10 footballers are in the commission’s crosshairs including more players from the embattled Titans, who are without a training base two weeks from the start of the NRL season after cutting ties with the prestigious Southport School in the wake of the revelations.
Titans chief executive Graham Annesley said he was unsure if more players would be charged, saying he’d first heard of the investigation following Friday morning’s media reports.
He says it was disappointing the players involved hadn’t told the club earlier they were under scrutiny.
“The fact it has taken us a long time today to verify these matters is very disappointing,” Annesley told reporters.
“There are a lot of very good people associated with this club. It is not fair to them that get dragged through these scandals.”