Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita at Broncos training. Picture: Annette Dew
Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita at Broncos training. Picture: Annette Dew

NRL should throw the book at boozing Broncos

The Broncos' pub boozers have been caught red-handed.

There is no grey area - the Broncos have again breached the NRL's strict COVID guidelines.

First it was Tevita Pangai Jr. Now it's up to 10 of his teammates following a boozy pub outing at the Everton Park Hotel.

If the NRL's investigation has any veracity, the integrity unit cannot arrive at any other decision but to hit the Broncos with a breach notice on Wednesday for contravening the code's biosecurity protocols.

The Broncos should be fined $50,000 by the NRL for a second COVID offence in five days.

 

Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

 

Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita are among a group of players under investigation for a possible breach of COVID restrictions. Picture: Annette Dew
Kotoni Staggs and David Fifita are among a group of players under investigation for a possible breach of COVID restrictions. Picture: Annette Dew

 

The group of players that are currently subject to a police investigation, including David Fifita, Corey Oates, Kotoni Staggs and Jake Turpin, should be stood down for at least two matches.

This probe is a huge test of credibility for acting NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo because the ramifications involve decimating the roster of the code's richest club and raising the prospect of the Broncos struggling to field 17 fit players.

If the NRL goes soft, the governing body will not only be exposed as hypocrites, but the COVID policy they have worked so hard to implement, enforce and enshrine will be rendered impotent.

Last week, the NRL fined Wayne Bennett $20,000 for lunching with his partner. Dragons prop Paul Vaughan was placed in a 'COVID hold' for merely attending a cafe.

The conduct of the Broncos' Everton Park crew is equally indefensible _ and the manner of the COVID breach exponentially worse.

 

The NRL fined Wayne Bennett $20,000 for breaching COVID guidelines. Picture: Getty Images
The NRL fined Wayne Bennett $20,000 for breaching COVID guidelines. Picture: Getty Images

 

The NRL's COVID guidelines are so murky and ever-changing that Broncos and NRL officials were on Tuesday going back and forth, privately trying to establish whether a formal breach had occurred.

All that was missing was the silly jingle from the Benny Hill Show.

But this much is beyond dispute: on June 23, a letter sent by the NRL to all clubs made it clear that attending "pubs, RSLs, Leagues Clubs, Bowls Clubs and Surf Clubs" were banned.

On July 16, the NRL's COVID rules were beefed-up.

That day, the NRL did a deal with the Queensland government. The Premier would continue to allow NRL border travel under a special exemption - on the proviso Queensland's NRL players returned to the code's strictest protocols.

The NRL agreed. That meant players from the Broncos, Cowboys and Titans could not attend pubs, regardless of the 14-day self-isolation rule regarding travel to and from NSW.

Broncos players have tried to argue they were lunching at a restaurant inside the pub, but Queensland police have told the NRL the group are clearly seen drinking in a bar area.

For that reason, Abdo and ARL Commission boss Peter V'landys should throw the book at the Broncos.

For Broncos chairman Karl Morris, it is yet another reason why he should read Brisbane players the riot act and put a broom through the entire club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as NRL should throw the book at boozing Broncos



WHO GOT THE RAIN?: Downpour soaks CQ

Premium Content WHO GOT THE RAIN?: Downpour soaks CQ

One town received an entire month’s worth of rain in one hit.

BREAKING: Man in hospital after car crashes into house

Premium Content BREAKING: Man in hospital after car crashes into house

A MAN was taken to hospital after a car crashed into a house in West Gladstone this...

MORNING REWIND: Top 5 stories you may have missed

Premium Content MORNING REWIND: Top 5 stories you may have missed

The biggest stories you may have missed yesterday, September 24.