KANGAROOS fullback Billy Slater was detained by police for several hours on Monday but released without charge after being involved in a nightclub fight in Manchester.
In the second late-night incident involving an Australian player in their base city for the Rugby League World Cup, Slater was the victim of an alleged attack as he celebrated Saturday’s win over Ireland with teammates.
Greater Manchester Police said the incident involving Slater took place outside a nightclub around 2.40am local time on Monday following a “verbal altercation”.
A police spokesman said: “One of the men threw a punch at the other, so the victim retaliated and punched him back in self-defence.”
A 40-year-old man from Manchester continues to be questioned on suspicion of affray.
Australian team management released a statement saying Slater had returned to the nightclub to collect his jacket when he was attacked.
“Australian Rugby League team management can confirm player Billy Slater was detained by police this morning and has been released without charge,” said the statement.
“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 (allegedly) attacked.
“Both men were detained for several hours while police reviewed footage of the incident.”
The incident involving Slater comes after his national teammate Josh Papalii was robbed on a night out last month, soon after the team had arrived in Manchester.
Kangaroos players have been allowed to go out on certain nights during the arduous six-week campaign and they were celebrating the 50-0 win over Ireland on Sunday after taking a late charter flight back from Limerick following Saturday night’s match.
Slater was one of the tryscorers in Australia’s Group A victory, which sealed a spot in the quarter-finals against the US in Wrexham this Saturday.
It’s understood Slater was not injured in Monday morning’s incident in Manchester and he is unlikely to press charges.
By Liam FitzGibbon (AAP)