Former Queensland Reds player and Wallabies prospect Izaia Perese has been immediately stood down by the NRL club Brisbane Broncos after being charged with drug offences.
The Broncos confirmed the NRL integrity unit have been informed of the development and the former Wallabies prospect will be unable to fulfil club duties.
“Standing down Izaia is not a judgement of his guilt or innocence, but recognition that this is a serious matter,” Broncos boss Paul White said on Monday.
“We have discussed our course of action and the reasoning behind it with Izaia, and he understands the action we have taken.
“We will review the matter as it moves through the legal process.”
A Queensland under-16s representative, Perese switched to rugby union in his teens and played alongside the likes of Kalyn Ponga and Brodie Croft. He opted to stay in rugby and played for the Australian under-20 side at the World under-20 Championships before going on to play Super Rugby.
He went on to play a total of 17 games with the Queensland Reds between 2016-18, before walking out on the final year of his Reds contract to move back to League and pursue an NRL career with the Broncos. He was a no-show at the Reds pre-season training while negotiating his release with the Reds and Rugby Australia.
He was touted to be the next ‘big thing’ for the Wallabies, earning praise from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika who said Perese was “killing it” while touring with the team in a training capacity.
Perese went on to make his NRL debut off the bench against Penrith in round 22 last season, and made one more appearance in the final game of the regular season.
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