Queensland coach Mal Meninga will come under pressure to stand down Will Chambers after the Maroons winger found himself at the centre of an assault allegation a week out from the third State of Origin in Brisbane.
Tristan Furniss, 24, has lodged a formal complaint of common assault with police after an incident at The Down Under Bar in inner-city Brisbane at 2am on Wednesday, claiming he was pushed over by Chambers following an argument about the owner of a hat.
Furniss said fellow Maroons Billy Slater, Aidan Guerra, Darius Boyd and Ben Te'o were also at the bar but there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on their behalf, although Furniss said Geurra had been engaged in an alleged ''push and shove'' with a friend.
Both the Queensland Rugby League and the NRL's Integrity Unit have been made aware of the incident and are conducting investigations. Police attended the scene at 3am and said nobody was injured. No charges have been laid and all players were free to go.
The QRL issued a statement saying it would make no further comment on Wednesday night but Furniss spoke extensively to Nine News, saying he was trying to defuse a situation before finding himself on the floor after being allegedly pushed by Chambers. He also accused Chambers of allegedly trying to leave the scene via taxi before being stopped by police.
"I grabbed the hat off Will, who was sitting at a stool. Next thing I know I’ve hit the ground. I bounced up and hit the ground again. As I looked up there’s a kerfuffle going on in front of me. I saw Aidan Guerra [and a friend] grabbing each other’s collars and pushing and shoving," Furniss told Nine. "Then security rushed in, Billy Slater was trying to pull people off. I went to security and told them I’m not leaving the place until I press charges. At this time, Will Chambers has slipped around to the side and hopped in a taxi. I notified the police this is the person I’m pressing charges against. They physically opened the door and got him out and started to take him over for questioning."
Chambers said nothing when questioned by the media outside of the team's Brisbane hotel before the side made its way to camp at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast. But Meninga will no doubt be reminded of his words before game one, when he took a not-so-subtle shot at former NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce for the drunken night out that may have ended his representative career.
Pearce was arrested after an altercation with police and stood down from the NSW side, while Roosters teammate Boyd Corder was fined $5000. At the time, Meninga said his players valued their jerseys and were unlikely to put their spots in danger.
"I’m very thankful that the quality of player in the Queensland side puts the game first. They understand their responsibilities and they don’t jeopardise their positions or the opportunity to be selected in the Queensland side," Meninga said prior to game one. "That’s what makes me extremely happy. This group of young men want to play for Queensland and part of that responsibility is setting the right example. I’m proud of who we’ve got in our team and that’s why they get selected all the time."
The Down Under Bar hasn't been kind to the Maroons over the past two series. It was the same venue Meninga was asked to leave after he wandered behind the bar and tried to pour a beer last year. Chambers was called into the side in place of long-term winger Brent Tate, who was ruled out after suffering a serious knee injury in game two.