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Josh Addo-Carr out of Kangaroos squad after brawl as Dylan Edwards is called up

Josh Addo-Carr has paid the price for his role in a brawl at the Koori Knockout competition and been ousted from Australia’s squad for the Pacific Test series by Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards.

On Friday, the NRL integrity unit finalised its investigation into an incident that took place on the NSW Central Coast last Saturday at the 51st edition of the Indigenous football competition.

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Video footage appeared to show Canterbury winger Addo-Carr involved in a fight that broke out during a game between Walgett Aboriginal Connection and his Sydney All Blacks team.

The length of Addo-Carr’s suspension will not be finalised until he responds to the breach notice issued to him by the NRL. But he appears unlikely to feature in the Test series that begins with a match against Samoa in Townsville next Saturday night.

Penrith fullback Edwards is on the cusp of a long-awaited representative debut after replacing Addo-Carr in the squad on Friday morning.

Known for his reliability in defence and out of yardage, Edwards has been one of the Panthers’ most important players amid four NRL seasons of dominance. He received the Clive Churchill medal for his man-of-the-match performance in their 2022 grand final victory and polled the eighth-most votes in this year’s Dally M medal count.

But captain James Tedesco has had a mortgage on the NSW and Australian fullback spots since before Penrith’s resurgence, leaving Edwards the only three-time premiership Panther yet to play representative footy.

With a dearth of specialist wingers in Mal Meninga’s squad, Edwards could find himself called onto an edge for his Kangaroos debut. The 27-year-old made his NRL debut as an outside back and had been suggested by pundits as an option at wing for NSW’s State of Origin side this year, though was ultimately overlooked.

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Addo-Carr’s absence leaves Brisbane flyer Selwyn Cobbo, another potential debutant, as the only out-and-out winger in the squad. Dolphins ace Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs are other outside back options. But both are likely to play in the centres for at least the first game as Valentine Holmes prepares for a suspension in the wake of his white powder scandal.

The callup continues another year to remember for Edwards, who re-signed with the Panthers through 2028 in August and played fullback in their latest premiership triumph on Sunday.