Huddersfield Giants forward Shannon Wakeman was involved in the Italian World Cup squad’s bar brawl in Cairns.
On behalf of the Rugby League World Cup organisers, the Australian NRL’s integrity unit chief investigator Karyn Murphy will be reviewing the reported brawl between Italy teammates James Tedesco and Wakeman at a Cairns bar after their 36-12 defeat by Ireland.
It has been reported that Sydney Roosters’ full-back Tedesco was hit by Azzurri teammate Wakeman while the team were out partying in Cairns on Sunday.
According to reports, Wakeman believed Tedesco had approached his girlfriend, leading to the Giants player punching the Roosters star which started a brawl at The Pier Bar, a popular nightspot on the Cairns waterfront.
The Italian team were ejected from the venue following the troubling incident and Rugby League World Cup officials have put Murphy in charge of their investigation.
“The RLWC has been made aware of an incident involving the Italian team in Cairns on Sunday night. The matter has been referred to the NRL integrity unit,” tournament organisers said in a statement.
“It would be inappropriate to make any further comment until we receive a final report.”
President of the Federation of Italian Rugby League, Orazio D’arro said there was also an internal review underway.
“Both players involved will appear before an internal review committee within the next 24 hours about their conduct during this incident,” D’Arro said.
“FIRL understands the importance of ensuring that players are not to engage in conduct that is detrimental or damaging to rugby league or the Rugby League World Cup.
“Both players involved understand their obligations to the Rugby League World Cup and the acceptable behaviour in public.”
Wakeman and Tedesco are still on the team, and travelling to Townsville for their next RLWC game against the USA.
Italy coach Cameron Ciraldo was not with the players when the incident occurred and did not seen the CCTV footage but said that the pair quickly made up after the “misunderstanding”.
“The two of them got past it the next morning, they shook hands and Shannon apologised,” Ciraldo said.
“Shannon spent some time with his girlfriend and now he’s returning to camp. We are going to have our own disciplinary meeting to decide what should happen.
“If the World Cup wants to come in and do something on top of that, there’s not much we can do.
“A number of teammates came in and tried to break things up as quickly as possible and as I understand that’s what happened.”