Australian Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga has confirmed star North Queensland Cowboys centre Valentine Holmes will remain in contention for selection in the upcoming tri-series against New Zealand and Samoa.
Holmes, who was left out of the squad for the PM's XIII match againt Papua New Guinea on account of an ongoing investigation from the NRL integrity unit, could still yet be included by Meninga for the tri-series.
Holmes added an image to his social media account over the weekend appearing to show him with a bag of alleged white powder in his mouth, however, the centre claims it was a "prank gone wrong" and that he had not taken any illicit substances.
The image came during Saturday evening in the first weekend of the NRL finals, with Holmes and the Cowboys eliminated during the regular season, with the club failing to back up their trip to a preliminary final last year.
That wasn't due to Holmes' form though, with the Queensland representative impressing for the Cowboys and at representative level for the Maroons.
Speaking on SEN Radio, Meninga confirmed he has already spoken to Holmes, and that he admitted what happened was "stupid" and "idiotic."
“I have spoken to Val, and I've had a really good relationship with him for a number of years,” Meninga said on SEN 1170 The Throwdown.
“He himself, he's so remorseful, he's just saying how stupid and idiotic he was to do what he did.
“That's not Valentine Holmes, I know it's not, I know he's a fantastic young fella and player as well, he's extremely remorseful.
“He's just got to cop it on the chin because he made a really big mistake, a stupid mistake and he brought the game into disrepute.”
The image, which was quickly deleted but circulated on social media, has already been met with a breach notice by the NRL.
Under new collective bargaining agreement rules, any sanction for Holmes will not be revealed for five business days after the breach notice was issued. It means Holmes will have a chance to respond before the information becomes publically available in the middle of next week.
Meninga though, said Holmes will come into calculations for the Australian side.
“I want my players, certainly the ones playing in the international space to be ambassadors for our game, and role models for our game,” Mening added.
“I think that's what the green and gold jersey deserves, and he understands that, we preach that all the time when we come together, that's my expectations on players, they are the role models.
“He's bitterly disappointed but he has to suck it up and accept the punishment in my mind… at this stage, obviously he's not a part of the (PM's XIII), I'm not quite sure what the (punishment) will be because that's private but he will still come into calculations in my mind.”
If he is available to be picked, then he will likely be a walk up starter with Latrell Mitchell (finger), Tom Trbojevic (pectoral) and Campbell Graham (shoulder) all either already ruled out or unlikely to be selected for the matches in Townsville against Samoa, and Melbourne against New Zealand, before a final to the series is played on the first Saturday in November in Hamilton.