Broncos slammed over Pangai ‘balls-up’
The Brisbane Broncos have come under fire for their "piss-weak" approach to sacking star forward Tevita Pangai Jr.
Earlier this month, Pangai Jr was caught breaching the NRL's strict coronavirus protocols by visiting a barber shop which has links to the Mongols bikie gang when police arrived to search the premises.
The 24-year-old copped a mammoth $30,000 fine and was stood down indefinitely by the NRL for his biosecurity breach.
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But as revealed by Fox Sports reporter James Hooper on NRL 360, the Broncos provided Pangai Jr. with a breach of contract notice which was not strong enough to sack him.
"It's been a balls-up from start to finish, the Broncos supposed threat to sack Tevita Pangai," Hooper said on Wednesday evening.
"(Broncos chief executive) Karl Morris came out and talked tough, 'That's it, we're going to tear up the $650,000 contract.
"Then they served this piss-weak breach notice, which they've had to take back and rescind because it had errors all through it and they realised that it wasn't going to stack up. It was drawn up by someone in the Broncos HR department rather than an actual lawyer.
"It spoke about Nick Politis and the conversations with him, it spoke about all the suspensions he had, it spoke about him not attending a team barbecue. It's not worth the paper it's written on.
"They've had to take it back, and now Pangai is waiting for another breach notice to be issued, which we believe will have all the COVID violations in it."
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Fox Sports presenter Lara Pitt revealed interim NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo was open to the possibility of allowing Pangai Jr. to re-enter the Broncos bubble.
"(Pangai) is showing remorse now, and he would like to get back into the Broncos bubble, even if it means he can't contribute on the field," Pitt said on NRL 360.
"(Andrew Abdo) said that if he can demonstrate he's willing and able to now follow these protocols, the NRL would consider him being allowed back into the Broncos bubble."
But The Daily Telegraph's Paul Kent questioned what purpose Pangai Jr returning to the bubble would serve.
"Why would he want to stay there if the club wants to get rid of him?" Kent queried.
"I've been covering the game for nearly 30 years now, and I've seen players stuff up, stuff up, stuff up.
"They'll get to a point where they promise they'll never do it again, but very few actually can turn it around."
The Courier Mail's Peter Badel reported Broncos legend Darren Lockyer has thrown his support behind Pangai Jr, and is shaping up as a pivotal figure in the dispute.
Speaking on Channel 9's 100% Footy, Sydney Morning Herald sports writer Andrew Webster said NRL bosses are "filthy" with Pangai's blatant disregard for the rules, designed to keep the competition alive in the face of a global pandemic.
As a result, he may have trouble getting a contract registered in 2021.
"As I understand it, the NRL are pretty filthy with the way that his interview went with the Integrity Unit," Webster said on Channel 9's 100% Footy.
"I don't think he is guaranteed of getting a contract registered at the start of next year.
"I can't believe when he got interviewed by the NRL Integrity Unit last week he said that he had not just breached the biosecurity five times, but also said he couldn't guarantee that he wouldn't do it again. That's the whole reason why they said, 'You're not playing again for the rest of the year'.
"The Broncos think that they're on pretty firm ground. There's been five actual breaches of those biosecurity measures that prompted the NRL to stand him down.
"So I don't know if it's a question of whether they should sack him, I think they will sack him."
- with James Matthey
Originally published as Broncos slammed over Pangai 'balls-up'