Valentine Holmes Out, Bradman Best Eyes Debut as NRL Scandal Shakes Kangaroos Squad


After a breach notice against Cowboys’ star, Valentine Holmes, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga expressed his inability to consider him for the upcoming tournament, leaving the floor open for Knights newcomer, Bradman Best, to potentially begin his international career. Despite Holmes’ integral role in last year’s World Cup victory, his name has been notably omitted from the list of players making their way to Port Moresby next week for a match against the PNG PM’s XIII.

The breach notice served to the Cowboys centre on Wednesday stemmed from an alleged violation of the code of conduct. The NRL integrity unit has launched an investigation into a social media post that depicted Holmes holding a bag filled with white powder over the weekend.

The void left by last year’s World Cup centre combination of the injured Latrell Mitchell and retiree Jack Wighton, appeared primed for Holmes’ taking, particularly ahead of next month’s commencement of the Pacific Championships. As Meninga admitted, “He’s under investigation by the integrity unit so we couldn’t pick him. We’re comfortable with our decision making and where the game is at with Val.”

Next week’s match will likely see Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Zac Lomax taking the centre; however, the availability of players from the six teams still left in the finals could cause a selection predicament for Meninga. Amongst the potential choices, he mentioned, “We’ve got Hamiso (here) and Bradman Best is still playing in the competition,” Meninga revealed.

Brisbane’s Kotoni Staggs could also make a possible appearance. Despite his exceptional form, Staggs hasn’t hinted at his interest in representing Australia, given his previous affiliation with Tonga.

Coming off a career-best season, Best has shown impressive resilience against multiple injury bouts and scored a double in his Blues debut. Meninga, acknowledging Best’s performance, said, “He needs to be in the picture when we talk about a centre or a left centre in our game.”

Meninga voiced his disappointment about the absence of Latrell Mitchell, the stellar performer at the World Cup, who is benched due to a severe finger injury that necessitates surgery.

Also under the spot, Jack Wighton, a recently retired Raider, was rumoured to be considering a return to the game in order to shorten his three-game suspension for biting. But the veteran player has not shared any intentions to come out of retirement with Meninga.


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