Manly Sea Eagles star Addin Fonua-Blake is staring down the barrel of a lengthy suspension as the NRL investigation continues.
Manly Sea Eagles star Addin Fonua-Blake is staring down the barrel of a lengthy suspension as the NRL investigation continues.

Star breached ‘anti-vilification code’

Addin Fonua-Blake could be looking at an extended period on the sidelines with the NRL potentially set to throw the book at the star following his tirade on the weekend.

The Manly Sea Eagles player unleashed at referee Grant Atkins during Sunday's loss to the Newcastle Knights and was slapped with a grade three contrary conduct charge.

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As of right now he is set to miss two games, but the suspension could be increased as the NRL continue to investigate the incident.

Fonua-Blake broke his silence on Tuesday in a video released by the club where he said his second spray, in the tunnel, wasn't directed at the referees.

"I wasn't aware that the refs were in the tunnels and they must have heard me say what I said in the sheds," he said.

"But I didn't say it directly to their face, it was just sort of me venting out loud in the sheds."

He said he had apologised to Atkins and noted he didn't truly understand the weight of the words he had used.

"Growing up I've sort of used the word differently, not knowing what it actually meant.

"Now that I know what it means, I'm very apologetic, I did not mean any harm and I didn't mean to use it in a derogatory type of way to offend anyone."

Addin Fonua-Blake protests with the referee
Addin Fonua-Blake protests with the referee

But on Tuesday night the NRL released a statement saying the Manly Sea Eagles player had breached the game's anti-vilification code and suggested a harsher penalty could be on the way.

"What happened on Sunday was divisive and against the fabric of what we stand for as a game," Acting CEO Andrew Abdo said.

"There is no place for comments like that in our game. Sport is about bringing people and communities together and we pride ourselves on being an inclusive game for everyone.

"Now that the Match Review process is complete, I want to speak directly with Addin and the Club about the incidents before determining any penalty.

"This is more than a simple sanction. It's important there is an education and rehabilitation component to issues like this to ensure players learn from these mistakes and realise the impact of their actions on the community."

The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent believes the star will be hit with a show-cause notice by the league.

"One was said in the heat of the moment, the fact that he's followed the referee up the tunnel and then doubled down on the insult has really upset the NRL," Kent said on NRL 360.

"There's a bit of a loophole there in that while he's already been charged for this, because the second one happened off the field, it allows the integrity unit get involved.

"I've been waiting for the last couple of hours for it to lob and it hasn't but I think the NRL will issue him now with a show cause notice as to why he shouldn't be punished further."

Originally published as Star breached 'anti-vilification code'