Tevita Pangai Jr has allegedly breached COVID-19 rules. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Tevita Pangai Jr has allegedly breached COVID-19 rules. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Premier 'frustrated' at Broncos COVID breaches

UPDATE: The Queensland Premier has described NRL bio-bubble breaches as "incredibly frustrating" after Brisbane Broncos forward Tevita Pangai Junior was stood down for two weeks after brazenly breaching COVID-19 protocols.

Annastacia Palaszczuk said the NRL had to act swiftly when breaches occurred, as each incident put the game and Queenslanders at risk.

"I'm pretty confident that swift action will be taken," she said.

"[...] Queenslanders are doing the right thing and this puts at risk all the great work that Queenslanders have done".

"Every code here in Queensland has signed up to an industry plan and the players must do the right thing".

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the breaches were up to the NRL to sort through, as they potentially put the entire season at risk.

"I'm satisfied that management is dealing with this very seriously, I'm not satisfied that their players understand the seriousness".

"They (NRL officials) let me know about every single breach and what they've done as a result of that breach, and so they've put in some very firm penalties and I hope that means it works".

Angry Broncos officials also warned players the entire NRL competition is at risk after Pangai brazen COVID-19 protocol breach.

Pangai copped withering criticism from former Broncos Ben Ikin and Corey Parker for attending the opening of the bikie-linked Black Canvas barbershop on Saturday when he should have been in strict lockdown after playing Souths in Sydney the night before.

Broncos chief executive Paul White issued a blanket warning to players that such breaches threatened the entire competition, especially after a series of lapses in the past week.

Pangai has been automatically stood down for two weeks - meaning he will miss Brisbane's next two games against Canberra and the Dragons - and is certain to be fined a five-figure sum by the NRL.

NRL players have been given special permission to fly between Brisbane and Sydney despite the fact that the Queensland border is closed and there are fears that breaches such as this will threaten those concessions.

"For our game to continue to operate we need total discipline around the game,'' White told News Corp.

"This type of behaviour is just unacceptable. I am aware of the pain out in the community and how tough everyone is doing it - there will be no sympathy here, and nor should there be.

"The COVID protocols could not have been clearer or more strongly worded because we are at a critical juncture of the competition.

"The Apollo rules allow our game to keep running and we cannot compromise when it comes to sticking to them.

"We simply cannot afford to take our position for granted, and any reckless breach of the COVID rules will be dealt with by the club in line with how important those rules are to protecting both public health and the continuation of our game."

 

EARLIER: BRONCOS star Tevita Pangai Jr will be fined by the NRL for a bikie-related COVID breach as the Queensland government prepares to back the code by refusing to close borders to allow the season to continue.

News Corp can reveal Pangai Jr will be hit with a breach notice after being embroiled in a police raid on a Mongols bikies barber shop yesterday.

ARLC boss Peter V'landys has already fined Wayne Bennett and Allan Langer for COVID breaches and Pangai Jr will also be hit in the hip pocket for his brazen bikie barber-shop brain explosion.

Queensland police on Saturday conducted a search of a barber shop that belongs to the Mongols bikie organisation and Pangai Jr was among patrons on the premises.

The search did not uncover any illegal activity, nor is Pangai Jr accused of any unlawful actions, but he is in breach of the NRL's strict COVID guidelines after playing in Sydney 24 hours earlier against the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.

As a result, Pangai Jr should have been in strict lockdown for the next 14 days along with all other Broncos players.

There were fears Pangai Jr's actions could infuriate the Queensland government and trigger a border closure to players, a scenario which would send the entire NRL competition into chaos and risk a season suspension.

But NRL bosses are confident that will not happen with the Queensland government satisfied with V'landys' hardline stance on COVID breaches.

It caps another drama for the Broncos after assistant coach Allan Langer was banned from attending the Souths game for a COVID breach last week attending a birthday party at a Brisbane pub.

Pangai Jr will miss Brisbane's next two games against Canberra and the Dragons.

The Broncos confirmed Pangai Jr's breach this morning.

"Brisbane Broncos player Tevita Pangai Junior has been stood down for 14 days after breaching Project Apollo protocols," a club statement said.

"The club has been informed that he attended the opening of a barber shop yesterday, in breach of the protocols

"He has been placed on a 'COVID Hold' and will undergo testing, while spending 14 days in self-isolation as the NRL continues to examine details of the breach.

"The Broncos are investigating the circumstances around the matter to determine what further action may be taken."



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