Valentine Holmes has formally accepted a sanction of $25,000 and a one-match suspension proposed by the NRL in a breach notice over a social media scandal.

The star North Queensland Cowboys, Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos centre posted an image to his social media on the opening weekend of the NRL finals showing him with a bag that appeared to have white powder inside it in his mouth. Holmes had a can of drink in his other hand in the photo.

The centre quickly deleted the image from his Instagram account, but not before it had been circulated on social media.

The NRL, who were quick to launch an investigation, were told by Holmes that it was a practical joke gone wrong and that he had not taken any illicit substances throughout the course of the evening.

A breach notice was served to Holmes in mid-September, however, under the new collective bargaining agreement between the NRL and Rugby League Players Association that was finally signed off in recent months, any punishments or sanctions aren't revealed until after the five-day window in which a player can respond.

That window was then pushed back further with a wait to see whether Holmes would be selected for the Kangaroos, which he was today.

It means the one-match suspension will be served in the first match of that series against Samoa in Townsville, with Holmes to miss zero NRL games, while he will also undergo training and education.

"The National Rugby League (NRL) has finalised its determination of the Breach Notice issued to North Queensland Cowboys player Valentine Holmes on 13 September 2023," the NRL wrote in a statement.

"The NRL has determined to impose the following penalty: a one (1) Match suspension, a fine in the amount of $25,000, a requirement to undertake appropriate remediation and attend such education and training as advised by the NRL.

"The player was selected for the Australian Kangaroos squad today and will therefore serve the Match suspension in the Kangaroos' first Test Match of the upcoming Pacific Championships."

Holmes not missing any games for the Cowboys will come as a relief to the club at the start of their 2024 campaign as they attempt to turn things around after a disastrous 2023, which saw a finals miss following on from the previous season's preliminary final appearance.