$650k haircut: Broncos 'set to sack' forward over bubble breach

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, Tevita Pangai Jr at Brisbane Broncos training.
Tevita Pangai Jr has found himself in hot water after breaching the NRL's biosecurity protocols. Pic: AAP

Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai Jr looks to have played his last game in the NRL this season, with reports the Broncos have decided to tear up his $650,000-a-year contract in the wake of his virus breach.

The second-rower was stood down for 14 days and after attending the opening of a Brisbane barber shop linked to a bikie gang on Saturday.

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Pangai Jr attended the event despite players being told they were effectively in quarantine under the NRL's biosecurity protocols after Friday's loss to South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

The Broncos were understood to be filty with their star, who was also reportedly trying to engineer an exit from the club after contacting the Roosters last week.

Following an investigation by the club and extensive conversations, multiple outlets were reporting on Tuesday that the Broncos have decided to tear up the remainder of his contract.

The Broncos are yet to confirm news of Pangai Jr's sacking after releasing a statement in the wake of the reports.

"The club is still finalising its investigation into Tevita Pangai Junior’s breach of Project Apollo protocols," the statement read.

"The final determination of any sanction has not been made at this time."

While other Brisbane staff members - including assistant coach Allan Langer - also breached the NRL's biosecurity protocols, Pangai Jr's was deemed the most serious because of his association with the bikie gang.

As well as the virus breach, the powerhouse forward was also deemed to have brought the club and game into disrepute.

The Courier Mail reports that the Broncos player will be given five days to appeal the club's decision and show cause why his contract - which runs until the end of the 2022 season - should not be torn up.

Pangai Jr is also facing a hefty fine from the NRL for his breach of the biosecurity protocols, with reports it could be as large as $40,000.

Pangai Jr faces a hefty fine from the NRL over his virus breach. Pic: Getty
Pangai Jr faces a hefty fine from the NRL over his virus breach. Pic: Getty

With the August 2 deadline passing for signing players, it means Pangai Jr would not be able to play again this season in the NRL, if he is shown the door at Brisbane.

He is also unlikely to be given a payout from the club, due to the nature of his breach.

Pangai Jr slammed for virus breach

The 24-year-old was roundly criticised for his latest indiscretion in rugby league circles, with Broncos legend Kevin Walters labelling his actions "very disappointing".

"Tevita Pangai has taken it upon himself to not listen to those rules and put himself above the rules and above the team and above the club, which is extremely disappointing from my perspective and the game's perspective as well," Walters told the Big Sports Breakfast.

"We're all relying on these players to do the right thing ... when rugby league players and sports people, in particular, don't do the right thing it's just really upsetting and disappointing in every respect.

"I'm sure Tevita is waking up today in isolation and wondering how he ever came to that decision to go to the barber shop."

Last week Pangai Jr had to dismiss reports he was shopping himself around to rival clubs after speaking to Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis.

Walters said it was merely another sad subplot to what has been a season to forget for his former club.

"Certainly it's been a horrendous year for the Broncos and this is another part of it.

"His actions indicate that he probably doesn't want to be in the system anyway."

with AAP