The venue: The Mojo nightclub in Bridge Street, Manchester, where the scuffle took place. Photo: Michael Carayannis .
Billy Slater’s wife defends star’s actions
Australian fullback Billy Slater was detained by British police – and then released without charge – following yet another incident involving the Kangaroos in Manchester.
Just weeks after Canberra enforcer Josh Papalii was robbed by two men while withdrawing £200 ($342) at an ATM, Slater was arrested and placed in custody after a scuffle outside a nightclub. After co-operating with police, he was released on Monday evening (Sydney time). Police say the Melbourne player was the victim and will not be charged.
“A verbal altercation took place between two men outside Mojos on Bridge Street,” A police statement said. “One of the men threw a punch at the other, so the victim retaliated and punched him back in self-defence. The police were called, and both men, a 30-year-old old man from Australia and a 40-year-old man from Manchester, were arrested on suspicion of affray.
“Officers have now viewed CCTV of the incident, and the 30-year-old man has been released with no further charge. The 40-year-old remains in police custody for questioning.”
The Kangaroos were given a night off to celebrate their 50-0 flogging of Ireland in Limerick. With a week between games, it’s understood some of the players had a few drinks. The evening appeared to begin harmlessly enough, with Slater posting footage of the festivities on Instagram. A 15-second clip shows teammate Greg Bird on the dancefloor performing a cartwheel. The Gold Coast forward then breaks into a spirited rendition of the Belinda Carlisle hit Heaven is a Place on Earth, with dance moves. However, the night took a turn for the worse.
“Australian Rugby League team management can confirm player Billy Slater was detained by police this morning and has been released without charge,” a Kangaroos statement said. “After reviewing CCTV footage of a scuffle outside a Manchester nightclub, police have determined that Slater was the victim who then acted in self-defence, and has informed him of his right to press charges.
“Billy was returning to the venue to collect his jacket that he left behind when he was attacked. Both men were detained for several hours while police reviewed footage of the incident. The Australian team players were free of official duties after returning from Ireland.”
Fairfax Media was told another player’s actions could warrant investigation but this could not be confirmed on Monday night.
In another incident a fortnight ago, Papalii was targeted by thieves. Papalli could not clearly recall what happened but it’s believed his assailants were armed.
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