Rugby league: Rising Canberra Raiders star Tom Starling charged with assaulting police officer

Canberra Raiders hooker Tom Starling has been arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, after an alleged brawl at a Central Coast bar.

Both the police and the NRL have launched investigations into the incident involving the 22-year-old.

According to The Australian, Starling is one of four men charged over the fracas, which is understood to have occurred about 10.45pm (local time) on Saturday.

The men have reportedly been charged with five counts of assaulting an officer in the execution of duty, affray and resisting arrest.

Starling was captured at his ensuing court appearance with a bloodied and bruised face.

"Officers from Brisbane Water Police District were called to a restaurant and licenced premises on the corner of the Scenic Highway and Avoca Drive, Kincumber, after assistance was requested by security for a patron that was failing to leave the venue," says NSW Police.

"When police arrived, they were told the patron had left, so officers conducted a business inspection at the location. While inside, police assisted security, who were involved in an altercation with another patron, who had allegedly failed to leave the premises.

"The 19-year-old man was arrested and while he was being escorted from the venue, police will allege three other men - aged 20, 22 and 24 - became aggressive and assaulted police numerous times in an attempt to intervene."

Taking over the starting hooker role after a season-ending injury to Josh Hodgson, Starling emerged as one of the Raiders' most promising young players this year.

After playing 14 games and a key hand in the club's run to the final four last season, he was rewarded with a two-year contract extension in September.

The Raiders have addressed the incident with a brief statement.

"The Canberra Raiders have been made aware of an incident involving Tom Starling overnight," they say. "The club has informed the NRL integrity unit.

"The club will not be making further comment."