NRL 2020: Brisbane Broncos investigated for pub session, season in jeopardy

Police are reportedly investigating a possible breach of COVID-19 restrictions as the Broncos’ season from hell gets worse.

The Courier Mail reports up to 10 Brisbane players — including under-siege star Tevita Pangai Jr — are under the microscope for socialising at a pub earlier this month.

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The publication’s rugby league writer Pete Badel reported on Twitter the NRL is “investigating (a) potential COVID breach by 10 Broncos players as Queensland police launch separate probe”.

According to reports, the Broncos believed they were allowed to congregate at the pub under the coronavirus guidelines in place in Queensland at the time of their visit.

Channel 9 reporter Mark Gottlieb wrote on Twitter: “Some players had lunch at a restaurant attached to the hotel to celebrate the end of a 14 day hard lockdown on Aug 1. Teams in QLD can go to cafes/restaurants if they haven’t been to NSW in the previous 2wks and don’t socialise with public.

“Players are not allowed to go to pubs though. The issue is whether a restaurant attached to a pub is a breach. The club didn’t think this was a breach when contacted last week and still do not believe they broke the rules.”

Channel 7 journalist Chris Garry reported on social media the Broncos “expect to be cleared” by the NRL.

The possible breach, which reportedly took place at the Everton Park Hotel, comes to light shortly after Queensland Premier and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young warned NRL players more biosecurity breaches would put the season at risk.

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Tevita Pangai Jr has had a grim 2020.Source:Getty Images

Last week South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett and Dragons prop Paul Vaughan were fined $20,000 and $10,000 respectively for leaving their teams’ “bubbles” to dine out at a restaurant and a cafe.

Broncos trainer and club legend Allan Langer was also fined along with two other Brisbane staffers for drinking in a pub, while Newcastle Knights self-reported after becoming aware Starford To’a and Simi Sasagi had broken their bubble.

Broncos forward Pangai is reportedly going to be sacked after he went to a barber shop opening and mingled with friends on the weekend.

“The Deputy Premier and Chief Health Officer are in constant contact with the NRL,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.

“I will be reminding the NRL the future of the season is in their hands. Everyone has to do the right thing.

“Nothing is more important than protecting the health of Queenslanders.”

Dr Young echoed Palaszczuk’s sentiments and also took a crack at some players for failing to understand the importance of following the rules.

“That will be up to the NRL to sort through but yes, there have been a number of breaches that potentially do put the season at risk,” she said.

“I’m satisfied management is dealing with this very, very seriously. I’m not satisfied the players understand the seriousness.”

The NRL has exemptions for interstate teams to travel to and from Queensland on game day during the coronavirus pandemic, but further breaches may see these special privileges revoked.

Pangai Jr plays ‘dumb game’

NRL: The NRL 360 panel discuss the sacking of Broncos star Tevita Pangai Junior after a COVID breach of contract, saying it was a ‘dumb game’ to play.

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