Tevita Pangai Jr has been booted out of the NRL bubble and hit with a big fine. Image by Dan Peled/AAP PHOTOS

rugby league

NRL boots Broncos’ Pangai from bubble

2020-08-12 15:23:58

Under-fire Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai Jnr has been fined $30,000 and excluded from the NRL’s bubble by the league for what interim boss Andrew Abdo described as multiple breaches and general disregard for the rules.

Pangai Jnr’s $650,000 a season contract at Red Hill hangs in the balance after the breach notice was issued on Wednesday, kicking him out of the NRL’s bubble “until such time that he can satisfy the NRL that he will comply with all biosecurity protocols”. 

The Brisbane forward is facing the sack with more than two years remaining on his contract, with Saturday’s biosecurity breach at a barber shop with ties to the Mongols motorcycle club potentially the final straw.

He was also reportedly among 10 players to visit a Brisbane pub on August 1 in another potential biosecurity breach under investigation, while the 24-year-old was forced to play down the intentions of a phone call to Roosters chairman Nick Politis last week after speculation he was shopping himself to rival clubs.

“We believe this was a case of a player committing multiple contraventions of the protocols and showing a disregard for the league’s rules,” acting CEO Abdo said in proposing the punishment.

“We will do everything we can to protect our season. Players or officials who show they are unable to comply with the biosecurity protocols will be removed from club bubbles until we are satisfied that they will comply with the protocols. 

“We believe in this case, Tevita has not been able to do that.

“This decision protects the health of our playing squads and most importantly the general community.”

Pangai Jr was linked to a move to Sydney before re-signing with the Broncos, the hot and cold talent missing 12 weeks through suspension in the past year thanks to a string of on-field brain fades.

The Broncos are still to deliver their own punishment, saying on Tuesday they were yet to finalise the investigation into Pangai Jr’s barber shop visit.

But any aspirations he had of joining back-to-back premiers the Sydney Roosters were swiftly shot down by coach Trent Robinson earlier on Wednesday. 

“He won’t be at the Roosters,” Robinson said.

“… I don’t know what’s going on up there but we’ve worked really hard, as I think you can see, for the type of player that we want and he’s not going to fit that mould.”  

Ben Ikin, in line to replace Paul White as the next Broncos CEO, said the club had erred in not releasing Pangai Jr sooner to create the space necessary to keep David Fifita from signing with Gold Coast.

“I said 12 months ago on this show that Tevita Pangai would be a player I’d be looking to offload, based purely on his football and his ill-discipline, and that was before they lost David Fifita,” Ikin told Fox Sports’ NRL 360.