NRL star Valentine Holmes hit with $25,000 fine and one match ban for social media post of him holding a bag of white powder

NRL star Valentine Holmes hit with $25,000 fine and one match ban for social media post of him holding a bag of white powder
  • PublishedSeptember 21, 2023

North Queensland Cowboys star Valentine Holmes has been hit with a $25,000 fine and a one-match suspension for posting a photo of himself holding a bag of white power.

The 28-year-old received a notice from the NRL alleging a breach of its code of conduct following an investigation into the September 10 social media post.

The breach alleged Holmes had “engaged in conduct which has brought the game and his club into disrepute” by publicly associating the game with illegal drugs.

The Queensland and Kangaroos centre is the latest of the league’s star to front the integrity unit almost two years after Melbourne Storm players Cameron Munster, Brandon Smith and Chris Lewis were filmed in a room where white powder was visible on a table.

The trio received a total of $49,000 in fines and a one-match ban for the indiscretion.

Holmes has accepted the NRL’s breach notice and punishment and will face the Cowboys’ board where a separate penalty is expected to be handed down, News Corp has reported.

Holmes told the club and the integrity unit last week he had not taken any cocaine or illegal drugs depicted in the shared image which was supposed to be sent privately as a joke.

The club told it would not discuss its internal procedures but that it was an ongoing matter.

The timing of the one-match suspension will depend on whether Holmes is picked by Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga for the upcoming Test series.

If he is picked Holmes would miss a game this year in the green and gold during the Pacific Nations tournament, which kicks off in October.

Otherwise, he will be on the sidelines for the Cowboys’ opening match of the 2024 season.

Holmes could have been paid up to $9,000 if picked for the Kangaroos, but will miss out on that money should Meninga opt to leave him out of the squad completely.

He also missed out on selection in the Prime Minister’s XIII, with Meninga and Anthony Albanese deciding to leave him out while he was under investigation from the NRL.

PM’s XIII vice-captain Daly Cherry-Evans said he was shocked to see the image but was confident Holmes would learn from the mistake.

“I never expected that, but people make mistakes, we all make mistakes, and I think Val deserves the benefit of the doubt over many years that he is a good person,” he said.

“I still think he is a good person and whatever happened up there, he made a mistake and I’m sure he will get in trouble from the NRL or his club and from there we just move on.

“It’s as simple as that.”


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