The playing futures of Sydney Roosters pair Anthony Watts and Todd Carney could be decided this week following an incident resulting in Watts being charged with assaulting a woman at a house party.
Police charged Watts following an argument with a 24-year-old female at a Coogee apartment, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, about 4am (AEST) on Sunday morning.
Police said in a statement that the former North Queensland hooker allegedly punched the woman in the face, before striking her numerous times to the back of the head.
She was then allegedly thrown into a couch, struck her head and sustained bruising and swelling to her left eye.
Carney is not believed to have been involved in the incident, but had been out with Watts after the pair, who are both sidelined through injury, watched the Roosters’ 24-6 defeat to Brisbane in Coogee.
Carney was recently put on a good behaviour bond following his arrest for drink-driving and has a history of off-field misdemeanors, that led to his sacking by Canberra in 2008 and being banned from his home town of Goulburn.
Roosters chief executive Steve Noyce said the club would conduct a probe into the incident over the next 48 hours and deliver the results to the NRL but was unsure whether or not Carney had been drinking.
“As always in these cases it is important to get all of the facts but they are that Anthony was charged with assault with grievous bodily harm – it is a very serious charge,” Noyce said.
“Todd was out with Anthony earlier in the evening, and we will be speaking to him in the next day or so to find out more and we will make further comment when we know.”
The Roosters worked hard to clean up their act last season and went on to reach the grand final just 12 months after ending up with the wooden spoon.
It was also a stellar year for Carney, who returned to the NRL after a year out following his sacking by the Raiders, to win the Dally M and also break into the Australian Test side.
In 2009, the club was dogged by a number of off-field dramas with Nate Myles, Jake Friend and Willie Mason all involved in incidents and were all stood down.
The bad publicity surrounding the Roosters resulted in long-term sponsors Samsung deciding against renewing their partnership.
Noyce on Sunday denied there was pressure on the club from sponsors to act swiftly against the pair.
“I have spoken to our sponsors today and I have kept them fully informed with what has happened,” Noyce told AAP.
“We are not going to do anything until we are fully aware with what has happened and our next step is to find out and we’ll take whatever action we take will be in accordance to the facts.
“Anthony is before the court on Thursday so it would be wrong to say any more until then.”
Noyce said Carney’s future could depend on the outcome of the probe, but refused to speculate if he would be sacked.
He said if the pair had been drinking, they were breaching club rules.
“Our rules are the same as most clubs, when it comes to injured players not drinking during their recuperation, so if they were, then they are breaking our code of conduct.”
Watts, who is yet to play for the Roosters since his off-season arrival from the Cowboys after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in training, was bailed to appear before Waverley Local Court on April 21.
A provisional domestic apprehended violence order (AVO) has been taken out against him.