- Former Bulldogs, Penrith and Melbourne star charged in NT
- Reportedly involved in high-speed car chase with police
- Was arrested on a rural property, apparently surrounded by weapons
Former NRL star Joel Romelo has gone on trial for leading Northern Territory police on a dangerous car chase before seeking refuge in a rural home surrounded by weapons.
Romelo, who played 28 NRL games for Penrith, Melbourne and Canterbury between 2009 and 2014, appeared in Darwin Local Court facing a string of charges relating to driving, firearms and assault after a three-hour standoff at Humpty Doo.
Police say they received a tip about Romelo’s whereabouts, which led them to a residence on Woodlands Road on a Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities then closed the quiet rural street from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., deploying property crime detectives from Task Force Trident, police negotiators and the Territory Response Group.
After three hours of tense confrontation, Romelo and another individual, Josiah Binsaris, 24, were arrested without further incident. Both were also subject to unrelated historical charges.
Romelo played the majority of his NRL career with the Bulldogs before returning home to the Northern Territory.
He was charged with a series of alleged driving, firearms and assault offenses following his arrest.
Romelo has not applied for bail and will remain in custody in Darwin until his next court appearance on September 29.
Romelo was initially the target of the police operation because he was wanted for an alleged chase in a stolen vehicle.
The 34-year-old man faced charges including unlicensed and dangerous driving, driving a vehicle without consent, participating in a pursuit, failing to comply with a police direction, missing license plates and possession misleading plates.
Additionally, Romelo was charged with possessing a firearm and ammunition without a valid firearms license and failing to meet storage requirements.
He was also charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment of serious injury, possession of stolen property and criminal damage to property during the incident.
During his brief appearance before Judge Thomasin Opie, Romelo remained silent behind the court’s security screen.
He has not applied for bail and will remain in custody until his next court appearance on September 29.
Upon learning of his two-week stay in police custody, Romelo gave a small wave to a young woman in the courtroom who was there in support.