Tamou in doubt after D-D charge

NSW prop James Tamou’s place in Origin II is in jeopardy after he was arrested by police in Townsville for driving four times over the legal alcohol limit and without a licence.

North Queensland officials are expected to announce what action the club will take against Tamou on Wednesday, but if the NRL is not satisfied they will impose penalties of their own. The Australian Test prop was charged by police after recording an alcohol concentration of 0.197 when he was pulled over at about 3.30am Monday in the suburb of North Ward.

Tamou will appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on July 2 on charges of unlicensed driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, and has indicated he will plead guilty.

While Cowboys coach Neil Henry described the incident as an ”error of judgment” by Tamou, there are concerns Cowboys officials did not know the 24-year-old had previously lost his licence, as he owns a car.

Fairfax Media was unable to confirm on Tuesday night whether or not the car Tamou was driving had been supplied by the club, whose players are sponsored by Toyota.

Henry said a decision would

be made on Wednesday about whether to stand down Tamou and if the Cowboys do so, for how many matches.

Tamou received a one-week ban from the club in 2011 for breaking team alcohol rules and Henry said: ”You have to treat everything on its merits.”

Should Tamou be stood down for more than one game he will be ruled out of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium on June 26. He is also likely to be hit with a substantial fine.

”It is disappointing, he has been very remorseful about it and we will have to have a discussion about whether it warrants missing out on football,” Henry said. ”We are on a plane on Thursday [to play St George Illawarra in Wollongong] so we will need to sort something out.”

Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain was in discussions with a representative of the NRL’s integrity unit on Tuesday, but they were yet to agree on action.

Fairfax Media was told the NRL would not allow any sanction imposed on Tamou to be influenced by Origin.

Tamou and North Queensland’s other Origin players had been given two days off by Henry after Saturday night’s loss to Canterbury and were not due back at training until Tuesday.

Tamou admitted to Cowboys officials he had been drinking and said he would not contest the drink driving charge.

”The Cowboys are extremely disappointed, as is James, in these events,” Jourdain said.

”James is taking responsibility for his actions and is very remorseful that he has put himself in this position. This is his first offence. He knows it is a serious one and that he will have to pay a penalty.”

Some at the Cowboys believe that by suspending Tamou they would be punishing his teammates, but another school of thought is he has already let them down and doesn’t deserve to play.

Henry named Tamou in his starting line-up on Tuesday but confirmed the club would decide if it would discipline Tamou on Wednesday. The Cowboys have also tendered a report on the incident to the NRL’s integrity unit.

”I am not condoning drink driving in any way but plenty of people have done it and it tends to be an error of judgment,” Henry said. ”He is a young man who has made that mistake and got caught for it so I am sure he will be remorseful about it.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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